Keeping it Eschatologically Real

Some time back I wondered about the lack of support for 2k among Vossians. Recently over at Reformed Forum Jared Oliphint seemed to give some eschatological encouragement to 2kers when he wondered about the possibility of redeeming the stuff of creation:

What about the rest of creation? Is it being redeemed? Did Christ accomplish redemption for the rest of creation when he died and was raised?

For those who believe that all of creation is currently being “redeemed” in the eschatological sense, there’s a very simple test to see whether that is in fact the case. As a friend of mine puts it, you are tasked to find a single atom, molecule, object, anything that has the permanence of the everlasting, eternal new heavens and new earth. Such a thing would be indestructible, and would most likely exhibit characteristics that literally indicate an other-world. That would be quite a find.

Or take the language we sometimes find within evangelical circles of “redeeming the city”, for example. Is this appropriate language given what we know of the biblical use of redemption? That depends. People are redeemed by the Holy Spirit regenerating their hearts, having faith in Christ, repenting of their sins, and receiving Christ and his saving and renovating benefits from his accomplished work in history. Christ did not directly accomplish redemption for buildings, neighborhoods, cities, towns, or any other particular group or entity whatsoever. Christ’s benefits do not apply to a local diner or run-down gym. They do not apply to capitalism, to philosophy, to Wal-Mart, to the Icelandic courts of law, or any other non-human not made in the image of God.

Oliphint backs away from some of the implications of this point, but his assertion is one that should prompt the critics of 2k (it is dispensationalist, it is Lutheran, it is defeatist, it doesn’t lead to rallies in the nation’s capital) to pause and reflect. The powers that redemption and its means opposes are not poor working conditions, undrinkable water, economic inequality, or unimaginative artworks. The powers of this age that Christ continues to subdue are those of Satan and his kingdom.

Luther himself deflates any hope for transformationalism in a sermon from 1544:

For [the devil] seeks at all times to take possession of the Kingdom of God and to become lord of Christendom. He will to be seated and to rule, in the pure and holy Temple of God.

What, then, shall we do to him? This we, and especially those who preach the Word of God, should joyfully consider, that we must hope for no peace here, but should recollect that we are Christ’s warriors, in the field, always equipped and ready, for when one war ends another immediately begins.

For we are called by christ and already enroldled (in Baptism) in the army which shall fight under Christ against the devil. For He is the God who is a Prince of war and a true Duke who leads His regiment in battle, not in heaven above among the holy spirits where there is no need of battle, but here on earth in His Church. Yes (even though He is seated at the right hand of the Father) He is Himself with His warriors leading them against the enemy, whom no human power and weapons can withstand, resisting and restraining him with His Word, which He has given to His men.

If culture warriors (i.e., neo-Calvinists, theonomists, and social conservatives) think that reforming society or teaching a biblical w-w of botany are a part of the kingdom coming, then they have forgotten how powerful the enemy is that they battle and they have lost sight of who is responsible for winning the battle.

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256 thoughts on “Keeping it Eschatologically Real

  1. Darryl,

    Point taken, but I still can’t get away from the cultural implications of Christ’s redemption. Speaking of the Devil, he seems to have full reign over our “secular” public schools that teach nihilism, death (abortion), purposelessness, meaninglessness, antinomianism, and selfishness. Indeed each graduating class from our socialist schools brings a fresh crop of kids with no fear of God, no value for life, and no work ethic. Can this possibly just be a huge coincidence?

    Of course Christ died for people. But does the Christian worldview have nothing to say about abortion, simply because it is a civicly decided issue? Does stealing somehow become okay just because the government does it? Any worldview that isn’t stout enough to answer these questions just doesn’t add up to me.

    The theonomic position isn’t as obsessed with transformation as it is with addressing the basic question: who’s standard do we use? Since we live in the real world, we must decide on laws as a society. Do we use God’s laws as the basis for our own or do we use man’s autonomous thinking to undergird our laws? It is this basic question that drives the conversation, IMO.

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  2. Why should we expect graduates of public schools to have a fear of God?

    Unless of course they happen also to be baptized children of believers, catechized in the church. But that’s a separate matter entirely. Which seems to be the point.

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  3. Brian,

    So why take back with one hand what we give them with the other? Why teach them at home that they are created in the imago dei, that murder is wrong, that sex should have boundaries, that excellence is valued, and then send them to an institution that is dedicated to the destruction of all the aforementioned values? Isn’t this a little schizophrenic?

    If you had the option, if the government gave you the choice of using the $4000 or $5000 a year that they currently steal from you, and allowed you the option to spend it on private or home school, what would you choose? Do your sons really benefit that much from being surrounded by girls that look like they just came off the stripper pole?

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  4. D.G. Hart: If culture warriors (i.e., neo-Calvinists, theonomists, and social conservatives) think that reforming society or teaching a biblical w-w of botany are a part of the kingdom coming, then they have forgotten how powerful the enemy is that they battle and they have lost sight of who is responsible for winning the battle.

    RS: I have had a few JW’s (Jehovah Witnesses) coming by to visit me and convert me for some time now. They came again today. They tried to convince me that we should have nothing to do with political issues or anything to do with human government. They told me that satan was the ruler of the world and its government, but we are to focus on the kingdom of Christ and it alone. So, I thought to myself, “I have heard that before.”

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  5. Jon, what you call schizophrenic others call being in the world but not of it. Was Paul mentally imbalanced? But your problem may be paranoia.

    Richard, 2kers pledge allegiance to the flag and encourage involvement in all human endeavors, including government. What’s your point?

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  6. Zrim,

    Paranoia is fear of a future danger. Realism is realizing the present reality. I don’t have to wait for the government schools to ruin the country or become bad – they already have. I just realize that present reality while some people stick their heads in the sand.

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  7. That’s what I love about Old Life. You hear a read everything. Still, someone does come up with something new that strikes the eyeballs and makes one look twice: today, that award goes to Richard who forms a new attack against 2k theology: that is, 2ker’s are like Jehovah Witness’s! Amusing and tragic in one breath! Apparently, the blows keep getting lower and lower, and yet I’m scratching my cup looking for the referee.

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  8. david: That’s what I love about Old Life. You hear a read everything. Still, someone does come up with something new that strikes the eyeballs and makes one look twice: today, that award goes to Richard who forms a new attack against 2k theology: that is, 2ker’s are like Jehovah Witness’s! Amusing and tragic in one breath! Apparently, the blows keep getting lower and lower, and yet I’m scratching my cup looking for the referee.

    RS: Actually, sir, I did not attack 2K theology by my post. I attempted to answer Zrim and explain, but I guess that post ended up somewhere other than here. 1) That shows the error of saying that when two groups have an agreement on a few points that does not mean that they agree on all. 2) It also shows that when two groups do not agree on some things that does not mean that they can’t agree on something. 3) I found it a bit amusing, so there was a little humor involved. I guess all three points were missed. For example, D.G. Hart tells me that I will defend Edwards on all things, but in fact I have only agreed with Edwards on a few things here. There are a few things I hold that are not in common with Edwards. Instead of looking for a referee, just smile a little.

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  9. Jon, clearly you have some criticisms of certain human agencies (civil government, public schools). So do I, but if you learned to speak in saner tones instead of pitched decibels, you might get a little further. In my experience, those who speak the way you do about public agencies do so for one of two (or both) reasons: they have little to no real experience in the secular sector and get their information from those who share their religious hysterics, or they do have experience but refuse to ease up on the antithesis in the common arena and thus don’t last long.

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  10. Richard, so what part of “we should have nothing to do with political issues or anything to do with human government…that Satan was the ruler of the world and its government, but we are to focus on the kingdom of Christ and it alone” would 2k agree with? I say none of it.

    But I wonder—with apologies to Walter Martin—if you could agree that JWs and Mormons aren’t cultists.

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  11. Jon, I don’t believe we live in a world as black and white as you do. You do not seem to be capable of recognizing the difference between something that is sinful (taking innocent human life) and something that is undesirable (socialism). I’m no fan of public schooling of socialism, but I don’t attribute them to Satan.

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  12. Terry, is it a non-sequitor, or something with which you disagree? Do you really believe that neo-Calvinists don’t use the language of kingdom work to describe Christian day schools or Christian political activism? Or is it that you simply agree with their expanded view of the kingdom? In which case, wouldn’t it be good for neo-Cals to be clear about the difference between the keys of the kingdom and w-w formation? And wouldn’t that have saved the CRC a few woes?

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  13. Richard, I guess you have a lot of Amish friends because you haven’t heard that from 2kers. If you think you have, then you need to read VanDrunen as motivationally as you read Edwards. Christians may have lots to do with govt. The church doesn’t because the church is part of a kingdom not of this world.

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  14. Zrim,

    Would k-12 (minus two years) plus four years college and ten years working in the public arena qualify me? Or am I still not allowed to talk? Maybe focus less on my pitch and more on my content. I would back down if you proved me wrong.

    So, do the public schools actually teach human dignity? Prove it and I’ll recant.

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  15. Darryl,

    If I came into your home and stole money to use for my children’s education, you would call It stealing. If I vote for a law that says the govt can do the same thing, you call it undesirable. Please explain the difference.

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  16. Jon, because God ordained the U.S. govt. Have you not figured out that Paul and Peter told Christians to submit to the ruling authorities? Do you not know that Christ told the Pharisees to pay taxes? The hole in your head is the idea that taxation is stealing.

    I like to keep as much of my paycheck as the next fellow. But it’s a stretch of ligament tearing proportions to think that authorities God has ordained are sinning when they do something that Christ approved (from a government that was more hostile to God’s people than ours).

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  17. Darryl,

    Brother, I do not think that taxation is stealing, per se. But I do think that certain taxes are indeed stealing. There is a huge difference between taking taxes for military defense than for food stamps.

    Jesus told us to submit to authorities, but that doesn’t mean he endorsed those authorities! He told us to submit to them (which I do) DESPITE their evil intentions. But that doesn’t make what they do right.

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  18. Darryl, Zrim, et al,

    We seriously need to discuss this over a beer and cigar some day. Maybe we’ll actually find something we can agree on!

    Blessings, brothers.

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  19. D. G. Hart: Richard, I guess you have a lot of Amish friends because you haven’t heard that from 2kers. If you think you have, then you need to read VanDrunen as motivationally as you read Edwards. Christians may have lots to do with govt. The church doesn’t because the church is part of a kingdom not of this world.

    RS: Not many Amish at all. Sometimes in reading you I think you have a great sense of humor, but then…You are right that I have not read a lot about 2K. It is no good for the religious affections.

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  20. Jon, where does Christ, Paul, or Peter ever say, submit to the authorities despite their evil intentions because you know that their taxes are actually bogus. Can’t you at least show the deferential charity that they did instead of constantly looking at the authorities as evil? BTW, do you look at both Democrats and Republicans as evil, or just one party?

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  21. But Elijah was an agent of God’s wrath against the two groups of 50 sent from king Ahab.

    Luke 9: 51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village.

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  22. Matthew 17: 24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

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  23. Jon, we’ve done the public school debate. I don’t know what your point is about teaching human dignity. In all my years within public schools in various capacities, I’ve never seen anything “antagonize human dignity.” What causes you to think taxes are stealing is also what causes you to think this happens. But my guess is that if there were JW schools, they’d teach it to your satisfaction. The question would be: do they educate well? Or is all education measured by how well it bolsters religious belief and ethics? If I thought so I’d rule out Catholic schools as a Reformed Christian, but I don’t, so St. Francis High School is as viable option as Grandville Public High School.

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  24. So if I think a certain type of tax is wrong, then I think all taxes are wrong and therefore disobey Jesus? Hmm, great logic.

    Btw, I never called the authorities evil (though many on both sides are), I called many of their policies evil. You have still not provided any case against redistributive taxes being stealing.

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  25. I say Jon has it right, Biblically and Common Sensibly. (Relation between Common sense and Common Grace?) Also there IS some similarity between Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (stolen good name!)great allergy to “politics” and much stuff at OLT! Love to you ALL, Old Bob

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  26. Bruce Settergren: Bringing in JWs = Beautiful example of well poisoning.

    RS: No attempt at that at all. Everything I write is always seen in the light of Edwards (which is not so bad) and so interpreted like that. I agree with and defend Edwards on many if not most things, but I am not in lockstep with him on all things. Anyway, with that in mind, think of just a bit of humor as well. D.G Hart and Zrim are so far from that I did not think it was possible that people would think that I was using that as a real argument. It did serve, however, as an analogy. Just because two groups or two people have sort of an agreement or appear to agree on one thing is far from telling the whole story.

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  27. Jon and Bob, where’s the logic here. The people who tax to fund public schools steal money but they are not evil. And I thought theonomy had a clear answer.

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  28. Jon, you’re a beauty! And I mean that in all sincerity. You ask insightful, concise, straight forward questions, and Zrim almost pees his pants! Then Zrim has both the gall, and temerity to accuse you of yelling, and infers that you are both insane, and paranoid! LOL! Well, your questions were music to my ears! Watching them stumble around looking for answers was hilarious!

    What you did, is expose Escondido’s radical two kingdoms soft under belly. Both Zrim and Hart are very sensitive when people do that. They go bonkers when you start talking about *socio political* morality; because they can’t answer the question. Hart has tried. Hart has said the answer is Natural Law. If you’re going, huh?! Good for you!

    Hart and Zrim do not believe the Bible has anything to say to our culture, “In the civil realm”! So they are saddled with “two standards of morality, one for the church, and one for the general public. Get ready to be mocked by both Zrim and Hart as Neanderthal for daring to believe that God’s “revealed” Law has authority over our civil laws, for things like rape, sodomy, blasphemy, adultery, kidnapping, beating ones parents, and stealing. Zrim and Hart, think it would be terrible if our Nation started punishing crime, the way God commanded crime to be punished. Must God repeat himself, in just the right way; before Darryl and Zrim will bend they’re knee? Apparently so 😦

    Isn’t Jesus the King of Kings?

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  29. Darryl, I do disagree but I don’t at all see how what you say at the end follows and I don’t really think any neo-Calvinist believes what you say.

    …then they have forgotten how powerful the enemy is that they battle and they have lost sight of who is responsible for winning the battle.

    That’s simply absurd. Neo-Calvinists believe that the enemy is fierce and that God is the one fighting the battle. We’re his agents in that battle in the same way that preachers are agents of God’s salvation in their gospel proclamation.

    Here’s the closest thing to a neo-Calvinist confession in A Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God

    55. Our hope for a new creation is not tied to what humans can do, for we believe that one day every challenge to God’s rule will be crushed. His kingdom will fully come, and the Lord will rule. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

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  30. Jon, I can’t say I’ve ever encountered the hyper-Darwinism in public education you suggest (as a student, teacher, or parent). But even if I had, I don’t see what the problem is. The early church encountered just as much paganism in the halls of learning—actually more—and wasn’t compelled to the kind of withdrawal worldviewers seem to be, on the grounds that it somehow diminishes a sense of human dignity. Their kids learned with the pagans, which suggests a stronger stomach than anything modernity has encouraged in religionists.

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  31. Richard, you keep insinuating that 2kers and JWs have something in common with “we should have nothing to do with political issues or anything to do with human government…that Satan was the ruler of the world and its government, but we are to focus on the kingdom of Christ and it alone.” To the extent you’ve portrayed JWs accurately, JWs actually have more in common with world-flight funda-eeeevangelicals than world-affirming Reformed confessionalists.

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  32. Doug, in the post-Jonestown age, I think it’s pretty irresponsible to impugn those who are at once false religionists but also good neighbors as being “cultists.” But this likely won’t jibe in funda-worldviewist mind where false religionists can only be bad neighbors.

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  33. Doug,

    Does God rule the culture, the world, in the same way as He rules the church? No equivocation or qualification, since you deem that as “stumbling around….” Just a yes or no

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  34. Zrim,

    You’ve got to be thinking it’s impossible to get your points across when there are so many misconceptions as to 2K coming back at you. I’m amazed at your energy and stick-to-itive-ness. I feel like I’m watch one of those long rallies between McEnroe and Borg from the late seventies U.S. Open (I don’t know which one you are). You score a point and then suddenly a volley comes right back. I suppose as long as no one throws a fit like Mac was prone to do, then all is well…

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  35. Jack, or Radwanska against Williams today in the second set. But sometimes it feels like the Isner–Mahut 3-day Wimbeldon match in 2010.

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  36. Zrim, “bad neighbors” — there you go again putting words in our mouths. Antithesis means that they are unbelievers and don’t please God with their works that don’t spring from true faith (as WCF and HC both say). By God’s grace (common grace and being in God’s image) they are not as bad as they could be. That’s what neo-Calvinists say–please read the neo-Calvinist Kuyper in Darryl’s citation a few days ago.

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  37. Jack,

    The misconceptions are not intentional. The questions I keep asking are in an effort to fIgure what exactly 2k believes. I can’t say I understand it yet. Sometimes I get even more confused with the more answers I get. Perhaps someday I will figure out what is at the heart of it.

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  38. Jon,

    I wasn’t implying they were intentional. Apologies if it came across that way. Keep asking questions. This 2K thing actually does make sense, and the bonus is that it actually comports with Scripture. I think sometimes in these discussions the focus on the all the trees keeps one from seeing the forest…

    cheers

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  39. Sean, Christ’s rule is absolute, period. He is completely sovereign over everything that transpires, and has foreordained all things by the council of his will. Yes, even the day of evil has been foreordained, yet not in way that makes God the author of sin.

    Your question is phased in a confusing way, and I really don’t know what you mean by asking *how* God rules all men. He has a redemptive special loving and saving relationship with his covenant people, to be sure, but when it comes to *socio political* morality and justice, there can only be one standard for all men, the very law of God. Even America knew this only fifty years ago!

    In God’s infinite wisdom it was his good pleasure to slowly apply Christ’s saving blessings to the world, like leaven. Until the whole world is filled with the knowledge of God like the waters cover the sea. Jesus was the first seed, and the fullness will encompass the world. There is only one moral standard of socio political morality that God demands for all men, and that’s found in the general equity of his law.

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  40. Terry, by God’s grace believers also aren’t as bad as they could be. It’s funny how neo-Calvinists seldom make this point, or for that matter how believers can be bad neighbors. But if we can be bad neighbors, and if by God’s grace we’re not as bad as we could be, what does this do to the worldviewist project? I just don’t see much room in worldviewism for confession. I see more room for thanking God that we’re not like those pagans.

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  41. “Speaking of the Devil, he seems to have full reign over our “secular” public schools that teach nihilism, death (abortion), purposelessness, meaninglessness, antinomianism, and selfishness. Indeed each graduating class from our socialist schools brings a fresh crop of kids with no fear of God, no value for life, and no work ethic.”

    This made me lol.

    Exaggerate much?

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  42. Doug Doug Doug,

    You started off decently, it wasn’t yes or no but at least it was resolute. But then apparently you ‘peed in your pants’ and start “stumbling around’ making qualifications and trying to nuance your response and blaming the questioner for poor phrasing. Tsk tsk tsk, somebody less charitable might come along and change your name to double D, ‘DD’, for ‘Dancing Doug’ or some sort of petty name calling. Somebody might claim the ‘soft under belly’ of your theonomy got exposed and you went ‘bonkers’. When all that was asked was a simple yes or no answer. BTW, when the theonomist cabal gets some unanimity on the specifics of the general equity application, all the way down to length of sentences and nuanced application for a modern context outside Israel without ‘stumbling’ over ceremonial and typical aspects, you make sure to let us all know.

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  43. Sean, my apparent *stumbling* was trying to understand where you’re coming from. God rules sovereignly, period. That’s my answer. 🙂

    Does God have a different relationship with his covenant people, than those outside?

    Yes. See? No stumbling around, that was easy.

    I guess my confusion is trying to figure out why you would ask such an obvious question? But I assure you, I never peed my pants, moreover, I wasn’t even defensive 😉

    I added a dose of post mill thought near the end, and I guess that’s what threw you; if of course you’re not on board yet, with postmillennialism. I would suggest you read “He Shall Have Dominion” for a start, it’s written by Kenneth Gentry. After absorbing that book, the scales will start falling off your eyes, God willing.

    Rest in his completed work,

    Doug

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  44. @Sean, Sean, Sean, if the “soft under belly” of my theonomy was exposed, please tell me how? Pssssst, I am more than willing to explain how Escondido’s radical two kingdom theology is incoherent. Nobody on you’re side, and I mean *nobody* can give a rational or standard, on how we are to punish crime today. Can you??? Not long ago, I asked Dr Hart how he thought America should punish child molesters, and do you know what his answer was? He said, and I quote: “I don’t know if my wife or Pastor knows how I feel about that”. LOL! LOL!

    After you’re done laughing, if you’re scratching your head, then good for you! Even with DGH’s keen sense of natural law and general revelation, (which he thinks is sufficient) he’s clueless when it comes to answering that basic question.

    So please don’t say *natural law*; since that’s incoherent.

    I won’t hold my breath, but if you’re willing to step up to the plate, then please do what no one else at Escondido has been able to do. Just answer that “oh so simple” question in a coherent way. If you’re able, I’ll quit calling that defect, 2K’s soft under belly. By the way Sean, answering in a *coherent* manner is where I’m setting the bar.

    I’m praying for you bro, and I’ll leave the light on 🙂

    Doug

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  45. Doug,

    I’m not going to turn this into an opportunity for you to preach theonomy. I just wanted to show you how groundless your divining or interpretation of Zrim and/or Darryl’s feelings or even the quality of responses actually was. But, I was sincere about the detailed specific listing of penal retribution for any assortment of societal ‘misbehaviors’ you deem worthy of criminal prosecution and how you came up with it, and what sort of consensus you’ve been able to cobble together amongst yourselves(theonomists) and what you plan to do about it. Quite frankly, I take the Islamisists much more seriously about their claims to institute God’s law and their sacrifices to that end. You guys just seem to like the rhetorical game as opposed to putting some ‘rubber to the road’. And don’t try to enlist my help with that, I agree with my favorite theologian that it(theonomy) is a ‘misreading of scripture on a massive scale’. I do have a recommendation however in your pursuit to put clothes on that naked emperor, Don’t do Tyler all over again.

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  46. Sean, theonomy is not a panacea; it’s a starting point, or a rational. Call it a standard, if you will. Are there nutty theonomists? Dugh! Is there one theonomist on planet earth that has it all figured out? Of course not! I don’t know about Tyler, but I will concede that theonomists are sinners, just like R2Kers. Do you want me to lump you in with Jason Stellman?

    That’s not the point. My question is far more basic; by what standard should any given society punish crime? Is there such a thing as socio political morality and justice? If so, what’s the standard? Or, or we left with, “whatever we do is probably okay”.

    Frankly Sean, I’m not sure *how* to apply God’s Law in a new covenant context in every circumstance. *We*, the body of Christ need to come together in unity, and study the Bible and ask God for wisdom. I strongly believe that with the full council of God’s Word and the fruit of the Spirit, with all humility *we* will grow into full maturity and make great strides, in contemporary culture. We’re obviously not there yet. (Corporately as well as personally) As we pray in faith, they kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

    After all, that’s the purpose of the church, amen? Ephesians 4:9 “that he might fill all things”

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  47. Doug, are you a nutty theonomist? Why do you look at everyone not a theonomist as if they have no standard for morality? You not only condemn 2kers, with that “rationale.” But you also condemn the OPC, the PCA, Clearnote Fellowship, and also your beloved, Doug Wilson’s CREC. No communion is theonomic (unless you’re worshiping at James Jordan’s congregation.)

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  48. Doug,

    I give you credit for being honest about your own limitations with applying theonomy. The brighter lights in the movement can’t figure it out either. The fact that you’re willing to admit the inability may run you up the ladder to the brighter lights in short order. Let me offer that the reason it hasn’t been done and it’s a struggle to ‘figure out’ how to do it, is because it’s a fool’s errand. There is no legitimate way, much less practical way, and finally any legitimate biblical theological way to divorce mosaic civil case law from theocratic ethnic Israel and apply it to ‘common’ non-theocratic nations. Why? Because it was never intended for that purpose, no other nation-state before or since has privileged status from God to appropriate to itself that charter or a similar one. Instead, that charter has been taken up, spiritualized and applied to the NT church not as mandate for some sort of camelot, or cultural evangelical dominaton but instead as the temple and the kingdom of God takes manifestation within the church body proper, with it’s own set of officers, means of grace, discipline and privileged application afforded members of a rightly ordered church by means of election and adoption. To put it in Pauline terms; True Israel is and always has been spiritual Israel. Your standard without way to put it into practice is no more than a paper tiger, an assertion without substance. It sounds good but when we press into the details of what, when and how, we realize it’s bankrupt. So for all the maligning of NL for it’s inexactitude and lack of exhaustiveness we in turn find out that theonomy, christian reconstruction and the like is D.O.A. It’s not doable because it was never meant to be doable in our current socio-political context and worse yet, the insistence of marshalling mosaic civil case law to this purpose ends up gutting the case law of it’s true intended purpose of both pointing us forward to Christ and bringing us to the end of ourselves in terms of self-righteousness. Quite frankly, if you need special revelation to reveal to you the wrongness of such actions as beastiality, murder, theft et al, than your state is worse than the gentiles of rom 2:14-15 who know such things innately. We have a diagnosis and a place for those with no working moral conscience, it’s called jail, execution by the state when necessary, and institutes for the mentally unstable and incapable-sociopaths. If you feel or know that your neighbor has no functioning moral conscience by all means call the authorities and lock your doors. This is not the norm however and we all, at the end of the day, end up trading on the existence of the imago dei in the unregenerate and regenerate alike. That they are not epistemologically self-aware does not prevent them from conducting themselves according to the divine imprimatur placed there by God himself. Are there those who don’t? Absolutely, but then that includes the redeemed as well, as you noted, so If those with the law fail often and daily in their efforts, I’m a little perplexed what you think you will accomplish in terms of conformity by giving the law to those, aside from the sociopaths, who know the law innately; rom 2:14-15. It’s not a problem of education but sin, that as it turns out, plagues both the regenerate and unregenerate alike.

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  49. Zrim,

    You said: “But if we can be bad neighbors, and if by God’s grace we’re not as bad as we could be, what does this do to the worldviewist project?”

    In response to this, you need to watch the end of the move “Collision” and listen to the conversation with Douglas Wilson to Christopher Hitchens.

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  50. Sean,

    You said: “Quite frankly, if you need special revelation to reveal to you the wrongness of such actions as beastiality, murder, theft et al, than your state is worse than the gentiles of rom 2:14-15 who know such things innately.”

    It’s amazing that you are so confident in natural revelation given the fact that very few people agree with how to punish the above crimes you cite. Quick example, the rescindency rate for child molesters is extremely high, 80-90%. Yet, the MAJORITY of Americans do not believe in putting them to death, like the Bible commands. So we let them out and 8 or 9 out of 10 repeat the same crime. Yet your WORLDVIEW of radical two kingdomism does NOTHING to address this problem.

    Also, you complain that there is no uniformity in the theonomic camp. Your solution: give up. Don’t even try. Just say the Bible doesn’t speak to world issues at all (almost exact quote from Zrim) and then you can never be wrong. That it, unless, the Bible DOES say how the world should go . . . .

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  51. Sean,

    Since all Christian denominations disagree on certain points, does that mean they are all fundamentally wrong? Should you leave Christianity since there are differences among the denominations? Does that make it DOA?

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  52. Sean,

    There’s so much to comment on in your posts, I don’t know what to do with myself. Oh well, here’s another: “You guys just seem to like the rhetorical game as opposed to putting some ‘rubber to the road’.”

    Whoa! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Every time I ask Darryl or Zrim a SPECIFIC question, I always get 1) a vague, generalized statement, 2) witty, humorous rhoetoric, or sometimes 3) sarcasm or mockery (“Jon, the hole in your head. . . .”).

    But seriously, this seems to be a pie in the sky philosophy. Whenever we press for a specific answer, we get the above 3 options. That tells me something’s amiss. So heavenly minded, no earthly good?

    Theonomists, and even neo-cals may not agree on exact details of application, but at least they have a solid foundation from which to work.

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  53. Jon,

    First off, knowing that something is wrong and knowing exactly what punishment to render, are two different considerations. The theonomists can’t figure out HOW exactly to prosecute the crime either, ask more than two of them. My solution isn’t ‘give up’ from a theonomy perspective, rather, it’s a non-starter. It’s simply not possible to divorce mosaic civil case law from it’s typical aspects, and oh btw, we don’t have a charter for any other theocratic nation outside OT ethnic Israel. See Daniel’s behavior in Babylon. A number of the promises and sanctions are not only tied to the land, but require being in the land.

    Jon, you exhibit what Clark would call QIRC, a quest for illegitimate religious certainty. Scripture doesn’t answer every possible temporal consideration while still being more than adequate to address the questions of the nature of God, man, sin and salvation. And as for your lack of confidence in NL/2k, even the confession argues that some things pertaining to WORSHIP, are ordered by the light of nature. So, the divines don’t share your skepticism as to man’s ability to act and order this temporal life arightly, and even when they don’t, scripture isn’t proposed as some ‘fail-safe’ to bridge the deficit. I don’t know how to help your dilemma, and neither does theonomy aside from offering empty, illegitimate promises of a way forward. Zrim and others have talked to you about the idea of ‘proximate’ justice. It isn’t perfect, but we ‘approximate’. I’m afraid brother that it doesn’t get any better than that, this side of the new heavens and the new earth. Nothing wrong with being politically active and doing your part, but in the words of Lynn Anderson; “I never promised you a rose garden………….”

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  54. Jon, wouldn’t that mean I’d have to buy the movie and thereby fund Moscow and thereby fund FV? Per your logic on taxes, that would make me guilty of promoting FV. So maybe you could just give me the basics of that Wilson-Hitches convo here instead?

    But also, you say to Sean that natural revelation is insufficient to govern civil life because people allegedly read it wrong (though I’m not sure raising the bar on capital punishment to only be for capital crimes is wrong). But this common theonomic reasoning is like saying that because some students get their times tables wrong arithmetic is an insufficient template to learn times tables, thus we need the Bible to do math. What this reasoning reveals is a complete negligence of the doctrine of abiding human sin and a remarkable inability to recognize that people are the problem, not God’s natural or special revelation. The Bible doesn’t even solve the differences between Roman Catholics and Reformed Christians because it depends on sinners to discern it. What makes you people think it will help anybody figure out how to punish criminals? But 2k actually believes that while both general and special revelation are perfectly clear, but sin abides so deeply that it obscures our understanding of either.

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  55. Jon, and what exactly is your w-w doing to address the problems of immorality in our society? If we executed child molesters would that be a solution? If we made child molestation a capital offense would that remove the problem? Do you really think the law solves anything?

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  56. Zrim, I do thank God every day that by his grace I am one of his. You seem to think that I think this makes me “better”. Where did you ever get that idea? But my unbelieving neighbor is headed to hell no matter how good or how nice he/she is. That’s what antithesis is really about. By God’s grace I do have a “better” , more truth religious posture toward God than my unbelieving neighbor.

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  57. Zrim,

    The problem with your above example is that taxes are COMPULSORY while the free market is . . . .free.

    Wilson just makes the point to Hitchens that given 4 people: a nice Christian neighbor and a mean one, and a nice atheist neighbor and a mean one, that the nice Christian and the mean atheist are the most consistent within their respective worldviews.

    Re: natural revelation – I agree that it is perspicuous. It is our sin (noetic effects of sin, in fact) that keep us from seeing the obvious truth. It is the 2K view that does not do justice to this. Why do you say that sin clouds our ability to read the book of natural revelation clearly? Didn’t you and DGH just say that unbelievers and believers have equal abilities to read NR? But if I am saved and the scales are lifted off my eyes, and I go down the road towards progressive sanctification, I can see the world no clearer – not 1% clearer – than the foulest of pagans. How does 2K answer this?

    But remember, as Van Til pointed out, special revelation was given BEFORE the fall! Before sin even entered the equation! Why would we need special revelation if natural revelation is adequate?! You can’t say for redemptive purposes only because it was pre-fall. Seems to me like a conundrum for 2K.

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  58. Jon,

    Re; Natural revelation- Rom.2:14-15 says it’s not an issue of education. We know the law. What is it exactly that you think regeneration causes you to see more clearly as it involves, data, information, knowledge? I agree it makes you more amenable to it, as it concerns religious fealty and worship and even grants you a new ambition, soli deo gloria, but it doesn’t give new information as it regards ordering temporal life, in fact it should keep you off the temptation of trying to marry cultic imperatives to the common grace city. IOW, we should more sharply see the distinction between the city of man and the city of God. You know; ‘waiting on a better city’. There is a second advent out there we are all eagerly anticipating.

    Who says natural revelation is adequate to the ordering of the cult and cultic worship, EVER? That’s what special revelation is for pre and post lapsarian, even if in Eden it’s declared via walking in the cool of the evening with our God and maker. What natural revelation IS adequate for is NON-cultic, temporal life. And oh btw, even though NR is inadequate for cultic practice, even here our confession talks of SOME of worship being ordered according to the light of nature, which you’d expect if it’s the same God ruling over both spheres but differently. Why is this so hard? Every theonomist I ever met trades on 2k principles, they just deny it when they start philosophizing and in their mind push the antithesis over the edge and into the abyss of epistemological certitude.

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  59. Jon, are you talking about NR and general revelation or merely about morality? Way back when this discussion started, Algebra was a topic. And the last I checked, the Christian schools are not teaching morality 24/5, but things like Shakespeare, biology, and volleyball. If you want to reduce the entire debate to morality, fine. Unbelievers suppress it whether its general or special — not to mention that believers are also prone to wander.

    But then you jump from a limited (though very important) part of general and natural revelation to what is going to be the basis for society. Believe it or not, this is not wise and it is not even Christian. I asked you a lot of questions about what theonomy solves. The reasons was to argue that the law solves nothing. It only condemns. If you want laws that will be enforced, that is one thing, though lots of public policy folks and lawyers would say that legislation really solves nothing — the problems of people and society go deeper. But if you want a solution — sorry to sound like a bumper sticker — then Christ is the answer. Remember what Paul wrote, “the law is not of faith.”Jon, are you talking about NR and general revelation or merely about morality? Way back when this discussion started, Algebra was a topic. And the last I checked, the Christian schools are not teaching morality 24/5, but things like Shakespeare, biology, and volleyball. If you want to reduce the entire debate to morality, fine. Unbelievers suppress it whether its general or special — not to mention that believers are also prone to wander.

    But then you jump from a limited (though very important) part of general and natural revelation to what is going to be the basis for society. Believe it or not, this is not wise and it is not even Christian. I asked you a lot of questions about what theonomy solves. The reasons was to argue that the law solves nothing. It only condemns. If you want laws that will be enforced, that is one thing, though lots of public policy folks and lawyers would say that legislation really solves nothing — the problems of people and society go deeper. But if you want a solution — sorry to sound like a bumper sticker — then Christ is the answer. Remember what Paul wrote, “the law is not of faith.”

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  60. Terry, what I think is that worldviewry can’t help but pronounce believers epistemologically superior, and if epistemologically superior then necessarily superior in all other ways. I understand you don’t like this—no neo-Calvinist does—but that’s the implication of worldviewry. That discomfort you’re having about it may be your 2k intuition telling you something’s not quite square with neo-Calvinism. If you don’t like saying we’re better than unbelievers then maybe stop speaking in ways that clearly imply it.

    Like I’ve intimated before, 2k doesn’t have any problem saying believers are right with God and unbelievers are not right with God. And it has no need to do the sorts of linguistic calisthenics (which include putting words like “better” in quotation marks) that say we’re not really better, but really we are. Huh? But being eternally right with God doesn’t imply anything about provisional superiority. Neo-Calvinists may want to agree, but their worldviewism sure seems to pull them in the exact direction of such superiority.

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  61. Jon, when it comes to good and bad behavior, I really don’t care about epistemological consistency. I want my atheist and my Christian alike to give me correct change, protect my reputation and my life. Neos way overestimate what it means to win the epistemological game. When you get the right change from the pagan, do you really worry much over how she did it, or are you satisfied that she treated you justly and go on your merry way? My guess is that you are satisfied and merry. Which means you live like a 2ker but pontificate with a chip on your shoulder like a neo-Calvinist.

    Theonomy’s problem is similar to FV’s: where FV sees grace pre-fall, so theonomy sees special revelation pre-fall. But both law and natural revelation were adequate pre-fall to save. The fall into sin is what necessitates both grace and special revelation; post-fall law and natural revelation correspond to provisional life (or lower things), grace and special revelation to eternal life (or higher things). This is why natural revelation is inadequate to save, but if, as Paul says in Romans, natural law is sufficient to eternally condemn then why is it not sufficient to temporally govern?

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  62. Jon, here is Kuyper on the wisdom you esteem:

    Does it follow, therefore, that the sooner we stop our observation of life the better, so that we can seek the rules of state polity outside life in Holy Scripture? This is how some mistakenly think that we reason…However, the opposite is true. Calvinism has never supported this untenable position but has always opposed it with might and main. A state polity that dismisses and scorns the observation of life and simply wishes to duplicate the situation of Israel, taking Holy Scripture as a complete code of Christian law for the state, would, according to the spiritual fathers of Calvinism, be the epitome of absurdity. Accordingly, in their opposition to Anabaptism as well as the Quakers, they expressed unreservedly their repugnance for this extremely dangerous and impractical theory.

    If we considered the political life of the nations as something unholy, unclean and wrong in itself, it would lie outside of human nature. Then the state would have to be seen as a purely external means of compulsion, and every attempt to discover even a trace of God’s ordinances in our own nature would be absurd. Only special revelation would then be capable of imparting to us the standards for that external means of discipline. Wherever, thus, this special revelation is absent, as in the heathen worlds, nothing but sin and distortion would prevail, which would therefore not even be worth the trouble of our observation…However, if we open the works of Calvin, Bullinger, Beza and Marnix van St. Aldegonde, it becomes obvious that Calvinism consciously chooses sides against this viewpoint. The experience of the states of antiquity, the practical wisdom of their laws, and the deep insight of their statesmen and philosophers is held in esteem by these men, and these are cited in support of their own affirmations and consciously related to the ordinances of God. The earnest intent of the political life of many nations can be explained in terms of the principles of justice and morality that spoke in their consciences. They cannot be explained simply as blindness brought on by the Evil One; on the contrary, in the excellence of their political efforts we encounter a divine ray of light…

    …with proper rights we contradict the argument that Holy Scripture should be seen as the source from which a knowledge of the best civil laws flow. The supporters of this potion talk as though after the Fall nature, human life, and history have ceased being a revelation of God and As though, with the closing of this book, another book, called Holy Scriptures, as opened for us. Calvinism has never defended this untenable position and will never acknowledge it as its own…We have refuted the notion that we entertain the foolish effort to patch together civil laws from Bible texts, and we have declared unconditionally that psychology, ethnology, history and statistics are also for us given which, by the light of God’s Word, must determine the standards for the state polity.

    Boy, he sure sounds way more 2k-ish than theonomic.

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  63. Zrim says: “This is why natural revelation is inadequate to save, but if, as Paul says in Romans, natural law is sufficient to eternally condemn then why is it not sufficient to temporally govern?

    Come on Zrim! Both you and Darryl don’t have the slightest idea what we should do with a kidnapper! If natural law is clear, then it’s as clear as mud! Unless you think natural law is pro-sodomy.

    Once you repent, and accept God’s written Word as authoritative in all spheres of life, *even the civil realm*, the scales will fall from your eyes. And you will suddenly be able to answer basic questions. Because right now Zrim, you’re tripping all over your self.

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  64. Sean said: There is no legitimate way, much less practical way, and finally any legitimate biblical theological way to divorce mosaic civil case law from theocratic ethnic Israel and apply it to ‘common’ non-theocratic nations.

    Sean, most of America’s laws were taken from God’s law, for the most part, during our Nations inception. Over the last hundred years or so, our Nation has drifted from a deep respect for Biblical standards of morality, to a *anything goes* mentality when it comes to sexual mores. Let me ask you a question; were our laws illegitimate back then?

    Could our founding fathers read natural law better than our leaders today?

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  65. Doug, in point of fact, you don’t have a clue about Romans 1 which says that general revelation reveals the attributes of God. If it can reveal that, what to do with kidnappers is a piece of cake.

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  66. Doug,

    Again I keep waiting for you guys to actually do something about it. Barney Frank is going to marry his partner, are you gonna get your rocks together and make a stand or just stay on the sidelines and whine about it and blame everyone else. When is it going to be your turn to be the man, and make a change?! I’m pretty sure our founding fathers would’ve taken a stand by now if they believed as strongly as you about it. I know what the Islamisists would do, but they seem to be more serious about their faith than you. I’m waiting for you guys to stop posturing and stand in the gap for your God. Time to man up Doug. Who cares what I believe, you need to stop being distracted and kick this revolution off.

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  67. Sean, I do know what the approipriate punishment is for child molesters, rapists, sodomites, kidnappers, murderers, young men who beat they’re parents, thieves, adulterers, and blasphemers.

    And I can answer with specificity. Something Zrim and Hart can’t do 🙂

    Check out 1 Tim 1:9-13 Paul claims that the *law* in the sense of civil punishments found in the Mosaic law, is in accord to the gospel of Christ. Notice Paul is using present tense. Frankly, I’m surprised that you aren’t aware of this verse. But Paul says those punishments *are* good, when used lawfuly.

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  68. Zrim, Kuyper sounds Kuyperian (aka neo-Calvinist). Imagine that. You must like neo-Calvinism if you like Kuyper there. Your conflation of theonomy with neo-Calvinism leads you to call Kuyper a 2k advocate. How funny!

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  69. Doug, everything turns on what to do with a kidnapper. Fine, Romans 13 says for the magistrate to punish him. Are you going to call on Paul to repent for not being more specific?

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  70. Terry, but the 2k laughs keep coming. Have you ever read what 2k Kuyper said about revising theocratic Belgic 36? It would make theonomic Doug cry (if that bit just above doesn’t already).

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  71. Zrim, every theonomist I know believes that the magistrate should punish crime. What you fail to add, is Paul also calls the magistrate, a minister of God. It only stands to reason, that once the magistrate is converted, or feels the pressure from a “Christian influence” that he should bear the sword in just manner. Not all punishment is justice.

    Justice is a synonym for theonomy. God’s law defines for us what “eye for and eye” means. It’s not to be taken in a wooden literal way, it’s poetry for *perfect justice*.

    The punishment *should* fit the crime. That is what God’s law (regarding socio political morality and justice) personified, it was always “eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth”, as in “perfect justice”, the epitome of morality and justice.

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  72. Sean, one can drive a thousand to flight, two ten thousand. Unless or until the body of Christ comes into agreement in the true knowledge of Christ, in maturity, and by faith, God will not move. Once salt loses its saltiness, its sometimes only good for being stepped on by the foot of the Gentile. Isn’t that what were watching right in front of our faces? Queer Nation gets more brazen, and the Church stands by listening to the likes of Dr Hart, and doesn’t know what to say. With leaders like Hart, he’s already lost the battle, because he refuses to look to God’s revealed Word and speak with authority.

    So, how will God use his people to fight the good fight? Sean, it’s not by might, not be strength, but by my Spirit says the LORD.

    The battle belongs to the LORD. We need to come together in agreement, and watch God move. It’s really all about faith. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way.

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  73. Doug,

    You’re still hiding behind the church?! And what the church will do?! Come on man, our founding fathers didn’t hide behind the church. Where is your heart man. Enough of the Vision forum playing at it, you guys are outfitting your boys in knickers, knee socks and plastic swords, and the Islamist’s are working on the summer selection of suicide vests. I already know who’s taking this seriously and who’s hiding behind mama. When is it gonna be your turn, our founding fathers took on the strongest military force in the world and overcame with bloodshed and revolution. You think your independence and way of righteousness is going to come any different?! We’ve already got one generation indoctrinated with ‘Heather has two mommies and 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. How many generations do you plan on losing before it’s enough. This is God’s country man! The city set on a hill. When are you gonna “give em Watts boys”.

    I can tell you this Doug; You’re no founding father. You’re no founding father at all.

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  74. Terry, all theonomists are neo-Calvinist but not all neo-Calvinists are theonomic. There are soft neos who are more transformationalist and want to transform the world from the inside out (make more Christians because the more Christians, the better the world), and hard neos that are theonomic who want to transform the world from the outside in (make more Christian nations and laws and it will all trickle down and make a better world). In other words, there is a spectrum of neo-Calvinism, all of which is principally different from 2k which isn’t interested in transforming the world in any way but rather reconciling God with sinners.

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  75. Doug, yes, I know theonomy is synonymous with law. Theonomy by definition is a system obsessed with law. This is what should bother anybody who puts the accent on gospel. When will you see that theonomy is a variant of Protestant liberalism which wants to see righteousness legislatively embodied?

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  76. Zrim, can’t you get anything right? I guess not 😦

    I said theonomy is synonymous with justice. Because God’s law personifies justice in the socio political arena. There are three uses of the law. And if you mix these up, you will find yourself (right where you are) in a bog of confusion. How we punish crime is a function of the third use of the law. You keep mixing up categories, and I’m beginning to wonder if you’re doing this on purpose, or are you just an idiot? Regardless, you need to take a little time off and get you’re act together, because as of late, you’re not making a bit of sense. You’re a category off, as per usual.

    I’ll keep the light on for you.

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  77. Darryl says: Doug, in point of fact, you don’t have a clue about Romans 1 which says that general revelation reveals the attributes of God. If it can reveal that, what to do with kidnappers is a piece of cake.

    Doug says: Talk about clueless! You haven’t the slightest idea what to do with a kidnapper! And ask ten people on the street, and you’ll probably get ten different answers. Ask Darryl, and he says: “I don’t know if my wife or Pastor even knows how I feel”.

    Now who’s clueless Darryl?

    Pssst, I know the answer to that question, why don’t you?

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  78. Doug, punishing crime falls under the first use of the law (usus politicus sive civilis), the the third. Talk about confused categories.

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  79. Dancing Doug says;

    “Because God’s law personifies justice in the socio political arena. There are three uses of the law. And if you mix these up, you will find yourself (right where you are) in a bog of confusion.”

    “The punishment *should* fit the crime. That is what God’s law (regarding socio political morality and justice) personified, it was always “eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth”, as in “perfect justice”, the epitome of morality and justice.”

    More Dancing Doug;

    “Once you repent, and accept God’s written Word as authoritative in all spheres of life, *even the civil realm*, the scales will fall from your eyes. And you will suddenly be able to answer BASIC QUESTIONS. Because right now Zrim, you’re tripping all over your self.”

    And finally humbled, apparently still scaly-eyed(gross), all hat no cattle, Dancing Doug:

    “Frankly Sean, I’m not sure *how* to apply God’s Law in a new covenant context in every circumstance.”

    That’s what I already knew and so do Zrim and Dr. Hart. We just keep waiting on you to figure it out. Zrim and Dr. Hart are real nice guys though, they’re likely to overlook the offense and tell you the same thing 38 different ways to try and help you out.

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  80. Dancing Doug says;

    “Because God’s law personifies justice in the socio political arena. There are three uses of the law. And if you mix these up, you will find yourself (right where you are) in a bog of confusion.”

    Zrim(remedial teacher);

    “Doug, punishing crime falls under the first use of the law (usus politicus sive civilis), the the third. Talk about confused categories.”

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  81. Sean, while I’m not sure how to apply the fourth commandment in a new covenant context, I do know how we should deal with kidnappers, murderers, rapists, child molesters, blasphemers, thieves, sodomites, and young men who beat there parents. So I’m light years ahead of you all 🙂

    Notice my list Sean? Many of the very sins (crimes) that are running rampant in our society today, and called gender issues by the politically correct crowd. Sins that have brought down whole Nations in times past, (see Sodom and Gomorrah) and Zrim and Darryl have no idea what to do. Zrim has even said he may vote *for* homosexual marriage. Isn’t that nice? Whoa to those who call evil, good.

    And just because I don’t understand all of God’s law, in no way means I don’t understand the bulk of it. I can answer most of the moral quandaries that trip up the likes of Hart and Zrim. With no dancing, yea! Bottom line Sean, I’m light years ahead of Zrim and Hart, only because I don’t divorce myself from the revealed Law of God.

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  82. But, Doug, the rampant a- and anti-sabbatarianism in both cult and culture are a problem. For such a light of the future, I’d hope you’d have an answer for them. But in the meantime, 2k will settle for addressing it in the church and that by way of gospel, and in worse case scenarios excommunication and never execution.

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  83. Doug,

    Since Pope Zrim and Dr.Hart (playing Dabney to Zrim’s Stonewall Jackson) have the church on “lockdown”. It really is gonna be up to you Moscovites to move the church forward on this stuff. Every time we try over here behind the lines, we get 2ked into submission. But that’s why you’ve got Ayatollah Wilson to lead you into theonomic nirvana, plus I hear he still gets input from Dad Jordan, so, you’re definitely on your way……….to something. But do hurry it up. The whole country is starting to spin from all the gayness and kidnappers and murderers and rapists and and and obamacare. Of course last I heard, O’esteemed one of Moscow told everyone the way forward was to go; “read a book”. So, there you go.

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  84. Zrim, when’s the last time you had a kidnapper in you’re church? People in the human slave trade don’t normally want to partake of communion, let alone go to church. What’s the R2K answer? Look to Natural law that no one seems to be able to define? Zrim, you’re an embarrassing advocate for R2K, because you can’t put someone on church discipline who’s not even a member!!!

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  85. Yeah Zrim, I’m embarrassed. You can’t be disciplining non-members!!! Fix it!!! You’re beginning to remind of Dear Henry, Zrim…”but there’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza there’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza(musical pause) a. hole.

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  86. Okay Sean, go ahead and mock God’s law. It’s outdated, right? Just remember that fearful day is coming when Jesus will say too many, I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness.

    What law do you suppose they were disobeying? Hmmmm?

    Sounds an awful lot like what I’m hearing from you 2K mockers of God’s revealed law for society in general. So if I were you, I would drop the pejoratives about men who revere God’s law, as a standard of righteousness for all men and nations.

    Like I intimated to Darryl, it’s one thing for me to joist with you all, but when you start mocking God’s law, you should tread lightly. It’s never right to deprecate God’s law as just Neanderthal. Which is what I keep hearing from you, Zrim, and Hart.

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  87. Doug,

    I am major Tom, I was a space monkey. I am the Pope’s alter-ego, and he didn’t make no LOSER alter-ego. I render fat and sell it back to them. We are all project Mayhem.

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  88. Doug, you may think I mock God’s law, but you seem to have no use for the apostle’s instruction from 1 Cor. 5:

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    If Paul didn’t think he anything to do with judging outsiders then why are you so concerned with the state of western civilization?

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  89. Sean,

    Sorry I missed all these posts when the website was down yesterday.

    “Who says natural revelation is adequate to the ordering of the cult and cultic worship, EVER? That’s what special revelation is for pre and post lapsarian, even if in Eden it’s declared via walking in the cool of the evening with our God and maker. What natural revelation IS adequate for is NON-cultic, temporal life.”

    This is REALLY forced exegesis. God commanded Adam to keep the garden. He commanded him to SUBDUE the earth and exercise DOMINION over it. These are CULTURAL commands, are they not?

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  90. DGH,

    Sorry, I forgot to reply to your original question about what the law solves. You are right that externally imposed laws cannot force people to be moral. True morality comes from the heart. But a just society will have just laws. Sin begets sin, lawbreaking begets more lawbreaking. When a society has just laws, such as punishments against child molesters, it prevents future crimes from happening and further breakdown of the culture. Imagine if we had no age of consent at all. Laws help to hem in the proliferation of sin. They show people that the society is serious about morality.

    The main difference between the 2ks and the non 2ks (neo-cals, theos, and “other Reformed folks” (I would say this is probably the majority group)) is that non 2ks apply morality to metaphysics AND epistemology, while 2ks confine it to metaphysics alone.

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  91. Zrim,

    “The fall into sin is what necessitates both grace and special revelation;”

    Why do you ignore the instructions God gave Adam pre-fall? Special revelation was given BEFORE the fall. Are you saying Cornelius Van Til was mistaken on this point?

    “post-fall law and natural revelation correspond to provisional life (or lower things), grace and special revelation to eternal life (or higher things)”

    This sounds like Platonism.

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  92. DGH,

    “Doug, in point of fact, you don’t have a clue about Romans 1 which says that general revelation reveals the attributes of God. If it can reveal that, what to do with kidnappers is a piece of cake.”

    I hold to the standard Van Tillian interpretation of Romans 1 which says that God’s revelation is only clear enough to CONDEMN people, not to show them the way. Would you say that if a person interprets natural revelation well enough, they could save themselves? No? Well then, why is it different epistemologically?

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  93. Jon, who’s ignoring? What God gave Adam pre-fall was law by natural revelation, not grace by special revelation (as in, do this and live; don’t and die). He didn’t give Adam a Bible because he didn’t need one.

    And Platonic? Are you saying that when Turretin said that civil power is regulated by “natural reason, civil laws and human statutes” and ecclesiastical power is regulated by “the word of God alone” that he was Platonic? Or Kuyper when he disparages theonomy by saying the same thing (from the quote I supplied earlier)? To distinuish between the temporal age and the eternal is basic Pauline and Reformed theology. What on earth and in heaven are you prattling on about? And speaking of CVT, you are aware that he consciously refused the crown theonomist try to force upon him, right?

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  94. Sean,

    I hate to take your comments seriously, because I know you’re just mocking Doug, but this is an important point:

    “When is it gonna be your turn, our founding fathers took on the strongest military force in the world and overcame with bloodshed and revolution. You think your independence and way of righteousness is going to come any different?!”

    The founding fathers didn’t form a revolution. They went to their local magistrates and led a civil rebellion. There is a difference. We (being the people who actually care about the state of the country; I can tell you don’t by your above mockery) have to start at the state and local level first.

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  95. Zrim,

    I’m not sure why you keep quoting Kuyper against theonomists – I’m not aware of any who claim he supported them. And I also never claimed Van Til was a theo, so you can put down that straw man. What I said is that I agree with his interp. of Rom. 1.

    So if God speaks to man directly, that’s not special revelation? It needs to be written down and made into the Bible first? Whoa, you better tell Moses that one. He was WAY wrong!!!

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  96. Jon, there is something between condemnation and saving ourselves. It could be simply having social and political order. And the norm for this order is God’s general revelation. It doesn’t save. It does condemn. And it establishes a norm for Christians living together with non-believers.

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  97. Zrim,

    Special revelation is when God speaks either directly or through the prophets or apostles, right? When God dictated the 10 commandments to Moses, that was special revelation even before it got copied onto papyrus, right?

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  98. Jon, you’re losing sight of the forest for the trees and going down rabbit holes. When I say special revelation I mean the Bible. When I say general revelation I mean the book of nature (Belgic 2).

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  99. Jon,

    It’s not really a category employed in Eden, in the sense we use it post-lapsarian, because you have a marriage of cult & culture before the fall. So, the very ‘keeping of the garden’ is a cultic endeavor, particulary when the garden is viewed as sanctuary, so the very ‘keeping’ of the garden is priestly guardianship. However, you do have the presence of the theophanic glory-spirit, giving both visual and oracular, special revelation. Thus, my allusion to ‘walking with God’ in the garden. So, in that regard you have prophetic communication such as the eternal sabbath rest anticipated, but then you’d also have divine law such as the prohibition concerning man’s use of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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  100. Zrim,

    I don’t think it’s a small point. Van Til’s entire system was based on special revelation being necessary even without the fall. That’s the point I’m trying to make, even if not very well.

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  101. Sean,

    Yeah but you were making the point that special revelation was ONLY for the purpose of cultic worship. I say it has broader cultural implications for the whole world.

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  102. DGH,

    When I read Romans 1, I don’t see much about how Christians should live with unbelievers. It just talks about how God’s existence and nature are blatantly obvious from creation, but man suppresses the truth and is given a debased MIND to lower himself into descending levels of baseness.

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  103. Jon, I get your point. What I don’t get is what’s at stake in preserving “CVT’s entire system.” Is this another third rail? I don’t see how special revelation was necessary pre-fall. It smacks of grace being needed, which makes hay of the CoW, not to mention the LGD. And since neo-Calvinism is the culturalist variant of law-gospel confusion (sorry, Terry, I know that unconscionable), I can see why the idea appeals to you.

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  104. Zrim,

    Isn’t I Cor. 5 talking about church discipline and how it only applies to Christians? I don’t see how it applies to civil legislation. We should not judge unbelievers in the sense that we can’t hold them to God’s internal standard. That has nothing to do with how we form external laws of the land, IMO.

    In other words the CHURCH’S function is to use its God-ordained means (church discipline, excommunication, etc.) to deal with bad behavior. The CIVIL government’s function is to form laws governing the external behavior of ALL people, regenerate and unregenerate alike. But the standard of good behavior never changes.

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  105. Zrim,

    Special revelation was necessary pre-fall because the fall was moral, not metaphysical as the Roman Catholics believe.

    This is relevant because if special revelation is necessary for something (anything) other than purely soteriological effects, than 2k breaks down.

    Am I making any sense?

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  106. Jon, re 1 Cor. 5, that’s exactly the point. Doug wants the Bible’s imperatives to be applied to those who don’t share in its indicatives. Paul is opposing that, and so should Doug.

    Re GR/SR, confessional Protestantism does indeed construe the fall in moral-legal terms as opposed to medieval and modern Catholicism which construes it in ontological-metaphysical terms. The upshot is that the former speaks of grace renewing nature, the latter grace restoring nature. But neo-Calvinism and broad evangelicalism actually share in this Catholic construal. Their piety and theology revolve around the quest to deny or over come their humanity. There is the evangelical (and fundamentalist and revivalist) neglect of the visible, institutional church. Much of that neglect or denial is grounded in the view that God does not operate through human, created things such as sermons, water, bread, and wine. Clearly humans are fallen and sinful. Rom 1-3 and Eph 1-2 (among other places) is abundantly clear about that. It is less clear that creation per se is fallen or sinful nor is it clear that creation or creational enterprises need to be redeemed, though evangelicals and neo-Calvinists speak this way routinely.

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  107. Jon;

    “Yeah but you were making the point that special revelation was ONLY for the purpose of cultic worship. I say it has broader cultural implications for the whole world.”

    Sean: Jon in a post-fall world where God has now established a common grace city in distinction from the church where we actually administer the keys to the kingdom, Special revelation has now been given the form of canon, we have a book. That book contains requirements for how the church is to conduct itself, who God is, the nature of both man and God, and the way of salvation laid out in redemptive history. Here’s WCF 1:1;1.

    “Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manner, to reveal Himself, and to DECLARE THAT HIS WILL UNTO HIS CHURCH; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort OF THE CHURCH against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto HIS PEOPLE being now ceased.”

    The canon is privileged status and word unto His people. If you want expansion to the common grace world, you need to produce a God-breathed charter extending chosen status to all Imago Dei creation

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  108. Zrim, it’s sad that I must repeat this BUT it seems you need a little reminding. Israel was under Roman oppression up to the advent of Christ, and some three hundred years after His resurrection, His Church was under enormous persecution by the Jews first, and Nero not long after. Yet, Paul went around saying, “Jesus is Lord”.

    That was the most offensive statement one could possible make towards a Roman. It had more force, than a Mike Tyson right hook! Metaphorically of course 🙂 Jesus, according to Paul, is Lord, not Caesar! That got them executed! Why were most Christians executed by Rome? For saying “Jesus is Lord”!

    It was far more offensive than saying that Caesar needed to change his laws on sodomy. By saying Jesus is Lord; Paul went to the root of the issue. Once the magistrate bends the knee to Christ, applying God’s law *should* be as natural as a duck taking to water. Unless you’re antinomian.

    Yet you, Sean, and Hart, act as if Paul didn’t make his case for theonomy. That’s because neither one of you understand what Jesus Lordship entails. EVERYTHING!

    Even politics? Yep. Even laws on sexuality? Yes! Jesus Lordship encompasses everything! Even law governing the heathen? Even how we punish crime? YES!

    The real problem is neither you, Hart, or Sean understands the implications of the Lordship of Christ our Lord, and the Great Commission. So it’s an eschatological problem as well.

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  109. Doug, your problem is that you have no conception of how Christ can be Lord and Christians submit to a pagan emperor. In other words, you have no way to make sense of the New Testament.

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  110. Doug,

    The problem you have with myself, Darryl and Zrim is that we’re confessional in the 1788 way and you aren’t. No biggie, you can be confessional in your pre-1788 way in the CREC. ‘Cept I’m not sure how you guys work out the Erastian bits, but no worries Pope Wilson I’m sure will straighten that right up for ya.

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  111. Doug, 2k is all about Jesus’ lordship over every square inch. And one of the implications of it, as Paul says, is that there is no authority except that which has been instituted by God, that to resist authority is to resist God. In other words, for 2kers the implication is honor, respect, submission and obedience, which is all over the NT. For theos the implication is correction and rebuke of civil authority, which is nary to be found in the NT. Theomists are the civic version of haughty, meddling, obnoxious, and disobedient children.

    Here’s a thought experiment: could theo(nomist or crat) ever be selected to be second in command over a pagan nation the way 2ker Joseph was over Egypt? I am trying to imagine the Baylys being asked to advise Obama with that “Sermon to a President” still barking and snapping and undermining out there. My mind’s eye just went bloodshot.

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  112. DGH says: “Doug, in point of fact, you don’t have a clue about Romans 1 which says that general revelation reveals the attributes of God. If it can reveal that, what to do with kidnappers is a piece of cake.”

    And I say: LOL! LOL! LOL! Darryl, you couldn’t tell me what you think is an appropriate punishment for a kidnapper! So if the appropriate punishment is a piece of cake, what is it?

    It’s so easy to thwart you. All one need do, is ask a direct question and watch you run for cover.

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  113. Doug, the same one who raised up the Third Reich. I know theos want magistrates to “kiss the Son,” but the point of Romans 13 is for believers to obey the magistrate, and in case the fact escapes you that Paul’s authority was Nero (as in Christians for candles in his backyard), 1 Peter 2 makes it clear that even the unjust ones are to receive our gentleness.

    P.S. constant cackling isn’t a sign of mental health.

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  114. Zrim says: I know theos want magistrates to “kiss the Son,” but

    No Zrim, that’s God who demands that magistrates “kiss the Son”. Or are you saying that only theonomists agree with the Bible? Maybe you have a point.

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  115. Darryl, when someone is as wrong as you are, hearing the truth will always be painful. Corrections are painful, and hurt you’re ego. Just consider it oil for you’re head, and let you’re head not refuse it.

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  116. But, Doug, basic Reformed hermeneutics tell us that the NT interprets the OT. And in Acts 4:23-31 the apostles prayed for boldness by referring to Psalm 2, stopping well short of the theonmic proof-text. The point is that it’s about the gospel, not law, and that the gospel is emboldened through prayer. The program is spiritual, not geo-political. Magistrates are indeed to “kiss the Son,” but as people, not as rulers. Have you ever considered how theonomy makes it sound as if milkmaids and bakers aren’t as important to the kingdom of God as princes and rulers? But 2k would have Presidents and vagabonds kiss the Son.

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  117. Zrim, you’re bazaar interpretation, of 1 Cor 5 is wrenched w-a-a-a-a-y out of context, and is a horrible twisting of Scripture, but logistically worse, you are making an argument from silence, which is always fallacious.

    Look Zrim, it’s painfully obvious you’re no logician, but you need to obey this axiom:

    Thou shall not use silence to prop up radical two kingdom theology”.

    If you will obey that command, R2K will dry up, and blow away to the dung pile where it belongs.

    If this happens soon enough, you’re name *may* not be foot noted along side of Hart, as one of the weirdo’s who proposed this nonsense. Sadly, because of his unfortunate books, Darryl will always be considered infamous for this distraction away from the calling of Christ’s Church. May God have mercy on us all.

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  118. Doug, everything I learned about the spirituality of the church (and the folly of political Islam Christianity) I learned from Machen, Dabney, Thornwell, Peck, Hodge, and Robinson. I suggest you do a little reading in the sources of Old School Presbyterianism. It might take the emoticon off your face.

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  119. Zrim says: The program is spiritual, not geo-political.

    This is where you’re oh so wrong! It’s not an either or, it’s both!!! Jesus is the king of kings!! Once you understand that Christ’s reign encompasses both His Church and geo politics, a light will suddenly blink on, in you’re bean. I mean brain.

    Zrim, your wooden division of spiritual and geo-political is bankrupt.

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  120. Doug, I know theos love their rules of logic (and why the epistemologists are invariably lined up with the neos and theos), but on top of NT interpreting OT, more basic Reformed hermeneutics instead: don’t speak where the Bible is silent. WIth those two basic together, where does holy writ say to execute the sexually immoral? Why are you speaking on God’s behalf where he hasn’t spoken? Are you really Reformed, or are you Calvinism’s version of Methodist, Pentecostal, Catholic?

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  121. Zrim says: WIth those two basic together, where does holy writ say to execute the sexually immoral?

    And I say: The same place it says we should baptize our babies.

    Oh! That’s right! That was found in the old testament, ooops! So much for your theory.

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  122. Doug, more Reformed basics: there is both continuity and discontinuity between the testaments. We still apply the covenant sign and seal to our children (cont), but instead of a bloody ordeal applied to only males it’s a watery sacrament applied to both male and female children (discont). And as the new Israel, the church still has sanctions against unrepentant sins (cont), but instead of execution it’s excommunication (discont).

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  123. Darryl, you’re understanding of God’s Word is completely untrustworthy in my opinion. I wouldn’t trust you to teach Sunday school, to pre school children, let alone adult Sunday school. Why would I trust your reading of J. Gresham Machen? You can’t seem to get anything right! When asked direct questions, you get squirrely and start dancing. I’ve never seen you answer a straight forward question. You act as if it’s all a joke. I wonder how God feels, looking down from the throne, as you mock and disparage his revealed Law, as it relates to socio political ethics.

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  124. Zrim,

    “more basic Reformed hermeneutics instead: don’t speak where the Bible is silent.”

    The basic hermeneutic of theonomists is that OT commands are still in effect unless specifically abrogated by the NT. Agree or disagree, fine, but that’s the hermeneutic. They aren’t arguing from silence, they’re arguing from the continuing validity of OT law (where is still applies).

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  125. Zrim, Israel excommunicated in the Old Testament also, which destroys your analogy. Do you notice you keep getting the either, or, paradigms wrong? Once again, you’re all kinked up. How do you excommunicate someone who isn’t a member of the church? What do you do with a kidnapper, church discipline for life? This is what happens when you try to divorce God’s written Word, from social relevance. You become irrelevant.

    As in salt that has lost its saltiness. You become only good for being stepped on by the foot of the Gentile.

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  126. Sean, what does that prove? Of course I’m not God’s Law! So? Can’t we like David say: Oh how I love your law, its my meditation all through the day”? Can’t we be like King Daivid who was called a man after God’s own heart? He loved the law, and so should we, amen?

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  127. Doug, as a theonomist, what would you have done in the case of Ken Gentry? Apart from the obvious problem of putting all your eschatological interpretive eggs in a spurious basket, it also demonstrates the uncertainties of the judicial system and highlights the lack of a straightforward biblical punishment for people uncovering their nakedness. His guilty plea and acceptance of an unbiblical probation and sex offender registry was a missed opportunity to educate a judge on faithful execution of God’s justice.

    It’s the 2kers that have a problem with the rubber meeting the road?

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  128. Doug,

    No one here is maligning God’s law. We’re objecting to your misapplication of theocratic statutes to non-theocratic nations(ours) and then you accuse us of mocking God’s law. We deride your misapplication. Or at least I do. There have been numerous detailed responses, both remedial and otherwise and you seem unpersuaded and then you start maligning other’s consecration to their Lord. Pretty serious stuff, which quite frankly is handled with graciousness until it becomes more than tiresome and then there’s some return fire of the sarcastic type, but there has been no questioning your faith or consecration. We/I quite frankly disagree with you and internet exchanges are kind of wild and wooly, which I’m fine with, I can’t speak for others. Now, what’s going on in these exchanges at the local congregation level, is a whole ‘nother deal altogether. I have at least 10 good friends who are theonomists, and though they are consistently wrong and I’m forever having to quiet and learn them, we all still break bread and share a pint or two. We draw the line at what gets taught from the pulpit and in catechism. They understand that, and we all get along as a result.

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  129. Sean, theonomy’s hermeneutic isn’t WCF 19’s, which says clearly that the judicial and ceremonial laws are abrogated (moral still stands). And it is not arguing for the general equity but abiding validity in exhaustive detail. It is out of accord with WCF, which is to say it isn’t Reformed.

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  130. Doug, and how do you hold out any possibility of repentance when someone is executed? I know, this is where you fault 2k for judging the OT and despising God’s law since it too would come under the same criticism, but haven’t you read the NT? It makes it pretty clear that the new covenant really is new and better than the old. Why do you want to live under the old law again?

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  131. Mike K. I have no idea of what you’re referring too. Putting all ones eggs in a spurious basket? LOL! What Ken Gentry are you talking about? And, have you read “He Shall Have Dominion”? It’s an excellent read, and will go a long way to helping you understand both the book of Revelations and the Olivet discourse.

    Keep pressing on bro!

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  132. Zrim,

    I missed this, when did I agree that Theonomy’s hermenuetic was WCF 19’s. It clearly is not. Don’t mess with me, I’ll fart in your general direction.

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  133. “Why would I trust your reading of J. Gresham Machen?” – Doug to DGH.

    Perhaps theonomists as a whole would be more agreeable if putting one’s foot in one’s mouth was discussed in the OT. Maybe it’s less theonomy and more an Internet thing.

    Doug, DGH has done some work on Machen. I can’t find anything you’ve done. My wife and I read Darryl’s book on Machen while courting; I would commend it to you if only as research for your own dissertation. I would be especially interested to see a theonomist’s compilation of Machen’s shorter writings exceeding a pamphlet.

    Bill Dennison’s footnote in his essay in “Confident of Better Things” alluded to Bahnsen’s interpretive problems wrt reading CVT outside of a Vos lens. I wish he would discuss that more frequently and loudly, as Internet theonomists appear especially oblivious to how poorly they handle historical sources pertaining, if only apparently so, to their idiosyncrasies.

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  134. Doug, the links I posted earlier, specifically http://thegentryfiles.blogspot.com/.

    I looked into Gentry’s views on Revelation <- (no 's') before I heard about his personal and eccesiastical problems, and afaict his views on the scroll being a divorce decree against Israel were novel, bizarre, and unfounded. That said, historical theology isn't my field. (nor is it his.)

    The Reformed churches have been responding to theonomy by name since the 80s. I think there are much better ways to spend one's time in 2012.

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  135. Zrim,

    I knew you meant me. But you don’t even believe in the continuing validity of the moral law. Wasn’t it you who said you favored Douglas Moo’s modified Lutheran view in “Five Views on Law and Gospel?” (Or was that someone else.) In it, he advocates ALL THREE aspects of the law being fulfilled and ENDED in Christ.

    Also, you talk about there being no room for repentance with capital punishment, but you yourself are for CP in the case of murder, right? So we aren’t arguing CP, we are just arguing when to apply it.

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  136. Anti-theonomists,

    I believe the only difference between theonomists and the majority of Reformed theologians is that the latter group believes only the moral law still applies, while the civil and ceremonial laws ended with Christ, but the former see the civil AND moral laws as still abiding, while the ceremonial law is ended. That’s the only real difference, so the problem is an exegetical one. That’s why I wish we could have more productive discussions about exegesis, rather than all the name calling and sarcasm.

    I admit that after reading the “Five Views” book, I was more confused than before I started. I thought all 3 of the reformed authors had good points. The dispensationalist was totally wrong and I didn’t think Moo made a good case either.

    I am a huge Bahnsen fan, though no one gives him any respect on this sight. He was a genius and I wish he were around to debate this issue now.

    At the end of the day, this is an important issue because the question “How then shall we live?” is pressing in around us more and more every day. I know you guys don’t care, but we are losing our freedoms everyday. And the cultural Christianity that is the only foundation for your natural law is eroding at an alarming pace. I know – you’ll just say I’m exaggerating or fear-mongering, but I think these concerns are real. We need real answers on how to address them.

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  137. Jon,

    The exegetical piece has been dealt with somewhat already, the basic thrust is there is no way to disentangle mosaic civil case law from the actual state of ethnic Israel as it existed then, and btw, no longer exists. That’s when the discussion melts into general equity provision, which Bahnsen so bends as to quite frankly make nonsense out of wcf 19:4.

    “To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.”

    Whatever GE may mean, it CAN”T mean NORMATIVE for other nations or ‘body politic’, or even ‘cherry-picked’ various JUDICIAL laws. So, you can’t make a wax nose out of general equity such that you eclipse the expiration of ‘sundry judicial laws for the Israelite nation’. DVD does a nice job of tying the concept of GE to an appellate court in existence in England at the time(writing of the confession), which was basically a court of reasonableness, according to basic Imago Dei considerations(natural law), which would reconsider ‘improper rulings’ against a defendant who ran afoul of the King’s law.

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  138. Jon, I never commented on Moo. But I don’t know how you get that I’ve opposed the abiding moral law. All I’ve ever done is affirm the third use, the entire third section of the HC, and WCF 19 with regard to the judicial, ceremonial, and moral laws (the first two abrogated, the last abiding).

    Re DP, there is such a thing as affirming but for different reasons, as in DP for murder based on the Noahic covenant which is abiding versus DP based on abrogated Mosaic law.
    Re your observation of what divides theonomy from 2k, it’s not as negligible as you suggest because one is Reformed and the other isn’t. One affirms messianic fulfillment, one functionally denies it. The exegetical spade work has been done. The question of how to live is found in the entire third section of the HC, no matter what’s going on in the broader world. I don’t understand why you guys look to the goings on of the world to make your stand. The world isn’t any better or worse in either direction of human history and God calls us to obedience in and out of season. The implication of your view is that once the world gets better (whatever that means), believers don’t have any incentive for obedience. But we do—the gospel. That’s the structure of the whole HC. You’d do well to consider what drives the Christian life, your perception of the world or the reality of Christ.

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  139. Sean, do you have a lick of common sense? What connection do you see, in only Israel executing kidnappers, and not other nations? If it was justice in Israel, why isnt it justice in America?

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  140. Doug,

    Turn up a burning bush that doesn’t consume the bush and tablets written on stone by the finger of God himself as it concerns the United States of America, a repudiation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God incarnate, unshakable, verifiable proof of the hoax of the resurrection, and historical critical evidence of the fraudulent nature of the NT canon and thus it’s apostolic authority and I’ll give youan audience. Until then, America ain’t Israel and has no claim or right to it’s criminal statutes and to insist on it as part of the great commission is to return to type and shadow and a denial of the reality of Jesus Christ, even if, and I assume it is on your part, unintended.

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  141. So executing a kidnapper is returning to type? That really makes sense Sean; NOT!!!

    So making a thief pay back restitution is returning to type?

    So executing a murderer is returning back to type?

    Sean, do you see how utterly absurd your post is?

    Sean, are there two standards of justice? One for national Israel, and one for the rest of us? Is that coherent? Answer, no it is not. Sean you not making a bit of sense, you’re walking in a conceptual contradiction.

    While the Mosaic economy has expired and the separation of Jew and Gentile has been abolished, along with the ceremonial laws, the moral laws are still binding. And it is impossible to logically separate certain moral laws from they’re penal sanctions. Calvin believed that as well as the men who penned the WCF.

    Even without reading any of the men, all one need do, is look at the laws that were enacted during their day. They were theonomic to the bone! Sean, are you saying our Reformers were denying that Jesus came in the flesh? No? Then please back off your outrageous characterizations.

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  142. Mike K. Do you want me to lump you in with Jason Stellman? Would that be fair? Moreover, the report on Gentry was ambiguous, and with such scant information, I couldnt make a judgment. It almost looks as if you’re just looking for an excuse to not have to engage Gentry’s arguments. BTW, you know R.C. Sproul is a partial preterist, right?

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  143. Doug,

    My intended point was ultimately not about Gentry, even concerning his moral character, other than as a particularly salient case study in why the question is never as “theonomists and GOD’S LAW” vs. “2kers and the AUTONOMOUS LAW OF MAN” no matter how theonomic you get. As far as I can tell, the fact that you can’t make up your mind in a case with a guilty plea demonstrates either that you recognize some of the complexities there, or that you actually do hold to having God’s law for everyone else and God’s grace for theonomists. I hope it’s not the second.

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t lumping you in with Gentry, I don’t believe his personal problems are due to his theonomy, nor that other theonomists act as he confessed to acting, and you can lump me in with Stellman if you want. Regarding Gentry’s arguments, I am just a guy commenting on a blog — there’s not a person on Earth who would care if I tried to respond to Gentry’s Revelation commentary.

    But I do think you could do a lot better on choosing your postmill influences, e.g., Keith Mathison.

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  144. Jon,

    Natural law is rooted in creation. Why would a 2ker base anything on cultural Christianity?

    At the end of the day, this is an important issue because the question “How then shall we live?” is pressing in around us more and more every day. I know you guys don’t care, but we are losing our freedoms everyday.

    The easiest way to answer this question is by saying, “It’s not that simple,” but better answers are likely found in Carl Trueman’s “Republicrat” and Patrick J. Deneen’s essay in “The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry.”

    In short, 2kers do care about the problems you’re probably trying to characterize. But the theonomic reading of the OT is only incidentally helpful (at best) in addressing them, while misinterpreting the details of God’s prior dealings with his covenant people as a template for how all nations and societies glorify God collectively.

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  145. Doug says;

    “Sean, are there two standards of justice? One for national Israel, and one for the rest of us?”

    Sean; Yes, absolutely and necessarily

    Doug says: “the moral laws are still binding. And it is impossible to logically separate certain moral laws from they’re penal sanctions”

    Sean; Yes they are. And No it is not.

    Doug says; Calvin believed that as well as the men who penned the WCF.

    Sean: Here’s Calvin on theonomists; Book IV: Chap 20:16

    “The allegation, that insult is offered to the law of God enacted by Moses, where it is abrogated and other new laws are preferred to it, is most absurd. Others are not preferred when they are more approved, not absolutely, but from regard to time and place, and the condition of the people, or when those things are abrogated which were never enacted for us. The Lord did not deliver it by the hand of Moses to be promulgated in all countries, and to be everywhere enforced; but having taken the Jewish nation under his special care, patronage, and guardianship, he was pleased to be specially its legislator, and as became a wise legislator, he had special regard to it in enacting laws.”

    More Calvin; Book IV chap 20:14

    “This I would rather have passed in silence, were I not aware that many dangerous errors are here committed. For there are some who deny that any commonwealth is rightly framed which neglects the law of Moses, and is ruled by the common law of nations. How perilous and seditious these views are, let others see: for me it is enough to demonstrate hat they are stupid and false.”

    Doug,

    Calvin thinks you are stupid and false. Take it up with him.

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  146. Sean, its one thing to have an honest disagreement, but you’ve just stepped in it. Let me repeat what Franklin Harding wrote about a year ago, when some tried the same tired argument.

    Speaking of Calvin,

    “For there are some who deny that a commonwealth is duly framed which neglects the political system of Moses, and is ruled by the common laws of nations. Let other men consider how perilous and seditious this notion is; it will be enough for me to have proved it false and foolish.”

    John Calvin

    This is a quote from Calvin that is repeatedly cited as proof that Calvin would have had no truck with Theonomy. However, this assertion needs to be examined in light of historical context. First, we need to keep in mind that if Calvin is really citing this against the abiding validity of the law then he is citing it against his friend and mentor Martin Bucer who wrote,

    “But since no one can desire an approach more equitable and wholesome to the commonwealth than that which God describes in His law, it is certainly the duty of all kings and princes who recognize that God has put them over His people that follow most studiously his own method of punishing evildoers. For inasmuch as we have been freed from the teaching of Moses through Christ the Lord so that it is no longer necessary for us to observe the civil decrees of the law of Moses, namely, in terms of the way and the circumstances in which they described, nevertheless, insofar as the substance and proper end of these commandments are concerned, and especially those which enjoin the discipline that is necessary for the whole commonwealth, whoever does not reckon that such commandments are to be conscientiously observed is not attributing to God either supreme wisdom or a righteous care for our salvation.

    Accordingly, in every state sanctified to God capital punishment must be ordered for all who have dared to injure religion, either by introducing a false and impious doctrine about the Worship of God or by calling people away from the true worship of God (Dt. 13:6-10, and 17:2-5); for all who blaspheme the name of God and his solemn services (Lv. 24:15-16); who violate the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15, and 35:2; Num. 15:32-36); who rebelliously despise authority of parents and live their own life wickedly (Dt. 21:18-21); who are unwilling to submit to the sentence of supreme tribunal (Dt. 17:8-12); who have committed bloodshed (Ex. 21:12; Lv. 24:17, Dt. 19:11-13), adultery (Lv. 20:10), rape (Dt. 22:20-25), kidnapping (Dt. 24:17); who have given false testimony in a capital case (Dt. 19:16-21).”

    Martin Bucer
    16th century Magisterial Reformer
    The Fourteenth Law: The Modification of Penalties

    It kind of strains credulity that Calvin would have referred to Bucer’s position as “perilous and seditious.”

    So, if Calvin is not aiming at Bucer’s position that the Mosaic judicials have contemporary application for Commonwealths who might Calvin’s comments be aimed at? The answer to that doubtless are the Ana-Baptists. Calvin had a ongoing quarrel with the Ana-Baptists (who doesn’t?) as seen in his Institutes. The Ana-baptists likewise advocated for the Mosaic judicials but in a revolutionary manner. When you consider all the positives Calvin penned touching the judicials and the magistrate,

    …“But this was sayde to the people of olde time. Yea, and God’s honour must not be diminished by us at this day: the reasons that I have alleadged alreadie doe serve as well for us as for them. Then lette us not thinke that this lawe is a speciall lawe for the Jewes; but let us understand that God intended to deliver to us a generall rule, to which we must tye ourselves…Sith it is so, it is to be concluded, not onely that is lawefull for all kinges and magistrates, to punish heretikes and such as have perverted the pure trueth; but also that they be bounde to doe it, and that they misbehave themselves towardes God, if they suffer errours to roust without redresse, and employ not their whole power to shewe a greater zeale in that behalfe than in all other things.”

    Calvin, Sermons upon Deuteronomie, p. 541-542

    Calvin’s pen seems pointed at the seditious and perilous Ana-baptists whose application of the judicials gave not Godly commonwealths but anarchistic Münsters. The initial quote by Calvin must not be taken out of context to prove something that puts it in contradiction w/ other things that Calvin wrote. What Calvin is doing, especially when one considers what he said elsewhere on this issue,

    “And for proof thereof, what is the cause that the heathen are so hardened in their own dotages? It is for that they never knew God’s Law, and therefore they never compared the truth with the untruth. But when God’s law come in place, then doth it appear that all the rest is but smoke insomuch that they which took themselves to be marvelous witty, are found to have been no better than besotted in their own beastliness.. This is apparent. Wherefore let us mark well, that to discern that there is nothing but vanity in all worldly devices, we must know the Laws and ordinances of God. But if we rest upon men’s laws, surely it is not possible for us to judge rightly. Then must we need to first go to God’s school, and that will show us that when we have once profited under Him, it will be enough. That is all our perfection. And on the other side, we may despise all that is ever invented by man, seeing there is nothing but *fondness and uncertainty in them. And that is the cause why Moses terms them rightful ordinances. As if he should say, it is true indeed that other people have store of Laws: but there is no right all all in them, all is awry, all is crooked.”

    * fondness = foolishness, weakness, want of sense and judgment

    John Calvin
    Sermons on Deuteronomy, sermon 21 on Deut. 4:6-9

    “The let us not think that this Law is a special Law for the Jews; but let us understand that God intended to deliver us a general rule, to which we must yield ourselves … Since, it is so, it is to be concluded, not only that it is lawful for all kings and magistrates, to punish heretics and such as have perverted the pure truth; but also that they be bound to do it, and that they misbehave themselves towards God, if they suffer errors to rest without redress, and employ not their whole power to shew greater zeal in their behalf than in all other things.”

    John Calvin, Sermon on Deuteronomy, sermon 87 on Deuteronomy 13:5

    In a treatise against pacifistic Anabaptists who maintained a doctrine of the spirituality of the Church which abrogated the binding authority of the case law Calvin wrote,

    “They (the Anabaptists) will reply, possibly, that the civil government of the people of Israel was a figure of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ and lasted only until his coming, I will admit to them that in part, it was a figure, but I deny that it was nothing more than this, and not without reason. For in itself it was a political government, which is a requirement among all people. That such is the case, it is written of the Levitical priesthood that it had to come to an end and be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:12ff) Where is it written that the same is true of the external order? It is true that the scepter and government were to come from the tribe of Judah and the house of David, but that the government was to cease is manifestly contrary to Scripture.”

    John Calvin
    Treatise against the Anabaptists and against the Libertines, pp. 78-79

    “But it is questioned whether the law pertains to the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual and distinct from all earthly dominion; and there are some men, not otherwise ill-disposed, to whom it appears that our condition under the Gospel is different from that of the ancient people under the law; not only because the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but because Christ was unwilling that the beginnings of His kingdom should be aided by the sword. But, when human judges consecrate their work to the promotion of Christ’s kingdom, I deny that on that account its nature is changed. For, although it was Christ’s will that His Gospel should be proclaimed by His disciples in opposition to the power of the whole world, and He exposed them armed with the Word alone like sheep amongst the wolves, He did not impose on Himself an eternal law that He should never bring kings under His subjection, nor tame their violence, nor change them from being cruel persecutors into the patrons and guardians of His Church.”

    John Calvin
    Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses – p. 77.

    So, given the context of his times what Calvin seems to be doing in his literary methodological approach is that he writes against the Anabaptists who stressed the necessity to adopt the Mosaic judicials as a whole without making the necessary distinctions between the Mosaic judicials in toto and the general equity of the judicials. Once having done that Calvin embraces, for nations, what we would call the abiding “general equity” and insists that magistrates must have to do with the case law in their considerations.

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  147. Sean, are you aware that Meredith Kline, the *father* of R2K thought Calvin and the early reformers were on theonomies side? And it bothered him to no end! Even if you don’t see eye to eye with theonomy, why would you grossly miss quote Calvin? Or were you not aware of his other quotes that put his over all theology in perspective? Or, are you saying Meredith Kline didn’t understand Calvin? Did you read those quoted by Martin Bucer? Would you call Bucer, theonomic?

    You obviously didn’t understand the quote, you used claiming Calvin was calling me stupid. Hmmm, now how do you feel? Talk about the pot calling the……well you know 🙂

    Sean, will you be man enough to apologize, now?

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  148. I thought I would share some telling quotes from J. Gresham Machin 🙂

    Education, Christianity, and the State: by J Gresham Machin

    “In the nature of the case Christianity must under take to transform all of human culture, and that only the Christian ethic based of the majesty of God’s Law could arrest the decline of western culture”.

    On reforming the government schools

    “Surely the only truly patriotic thing to teach the child is that there is one majestic moral Law to which our own Country and all Countries of the world are subject. There will have to be recourse again despite the props supported by the materialistic paternalism of the modern state, to the stern solid masonry of the Law of God. An authority which is man made can never secure the reverence of man. Society can endure, only if it is founded on the Rock of God’s commands.

    Amen and amen!!

    Darryl, it seems as if Machen leaned more in a theonomic direction, than you have been willing to admit. Did you catch his statement on reforming the government schools? Would you say amen, to that? I sure do!

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  149. Sean, please re-read Martin Bucer’s short paragraph again. And notice how easily he goes to old testament scripture to bolster his case for new testament application. Bucer was Calvin’s dear friend and mentor. He clearly would be against R2K and for theonomy, amen? Even if you disagree, can’t you admit that Bucer was theonomic to the bone? Would you go so far, as to say Martin Bucer denyed Christ came in the flesh?

    “But since no one can desire an approach more equitable and wholesome to the commonwealth than that which God describes in His law, it is certainly the duty of all kings and princes who recognize that God has put them over His people that follow most studiously his own method of punishing evildoers. For inasmuch as we have been freed from the teaching of Moses through Christ the Lord so that it is no longer necessary for us to observe the civil decrees of the law of Moses, namely, in terms of the way and the circumstances in which they described, nevertheless, insofar as the substance and proper end of these commandments are concerned, and especially those which enjoin the discipline that is necessary for the whole commonwealth, whoever does not reckon that such commandments are to be conscientiously observed is not attributing to God either supreme wisdom or a righteous care for our salvation.

    Accordingly, in every state sanctified to God capital punishment must be ordered for all who have dared to injure religion, either by introducing a false and impious doctrine about the Worship of God or by calling people away from the true worship of God (Dt. 13:6-10, and 17:2-5); for all who blaspheme the name of God and his solemn services (Lv. 24:15-16); who violate the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15, and 35:2; Num. 15:32-36); who rebelliously despise authority of parents and live their own life wickedly (Dt. 21:18-21); who are unwilling to submit to the sentence of supreme tribunal (Dt. 17:8-12); who have committed bloodshed (Ex. 21:12; Lv. 24:17, Dt. 19:11-13), adultery (Lv. 20:10), rape (Dt. 22:20-25), kidnapping (Dt. 24:17); who have given false testimony in a capital case (Dt. 19:16-21).”

    Martin Bucer
    16th century Magisterial Reformer
    The Fourteenth Law: The Modification of Penalties

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  150. Doug says;

    “Sean, are there two standards of justice? One for national Israel, and one for the rest of us?”

    Sean; Yes, absolutely and necessarily

    Doug: Sean, you are trapped in a conceptual contradiction. I feel for you bro, if you ever go into a debate with that approach. Get ready to lose.

    By the way, even Kline knew better than to say there are two standards of justice. Read his argument, it’s called the intrusion ethic. It doest make any sense either, but at least Kline knew better than to say there are two standards of justice. That would get you laughed out of any serious discussion on ethics.

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  151. Doug, good quoting from Gary North’s quote of Machen. You left out the elipsis. You also fail to go on to quote what Machen says just below the quote you produce, you know, the statement on government schools, you know, the one you think I haven’t read, you know, the one you haven’t read but only lifted North’s quote. If you had read the statement, you’d also see that Machen says this:

    The reading of selected passages from the Bible, in which Jews and Catholics and Protestants and others can presumably agree, should not be encouraged, and still less should be required by law. The real center of the Bible is redemption; and to create the impression that other things in the Bible contain any hope for humanity apart from that is to contradict the Bible at its root. Even the best of books, if it is presented in garbled form, may be made to say the exact opposite of what it means.

    So what you and theonomists cannot do is reconcile how Machen (or Calvin) can say one thing that seems to support theonomy and another thing that does not. 2kers can offer such an interpretation because we can agree that God’s law is the basis for society and we can say that by looking not to the OT but to natural law. We can also figure out the difference between Israel and Geneva or the United States. And with Machen we can believe in God’s law and follow it, and not expect it to become part of the nation’s law.

    I know it’s all about logic for you, Doug. But sometimes you have to think.

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  152. Doug,

    Give it a rest. Your quotes are historically anachronistic, and you want to insist, they were all about being theonomists and you know very well they were not. You know they tended to be erastian, caught as they were in Christendom, and yes they certainly took aim at the anabaptists. You also are aware that as Christendom wound down and by the time we get to the colonies, you eventually have an American revision, which as far as the American churches are concerned effectively does away with Christendom’s notion of magistrate oversight of the church including and particularly adjudicating heresy and heretics. I guess you want Barack Obama to get involved in settling these matters.

    The only thing I’ve stepped in, is your desire to abide the WCF of 1646, and have Prince Charles tell you what’s what theologically and make those nasty unregenerates do right(they in fact are going back and forth on this very issue right now in England), or I guess in this context Barack Obama. This is why Pope Wilson and the CREC adhere to the Pre-1788 WCF, ‘cept they need to get a magistrate of their liking before they really mean it. They just want the ‘option’ available to them for when they get ‘their man’ in place and it becomes necessary to move the kingdom on by force.

    So, go do that and good luck with all that. BTW, Kline was making reference to the original WCF and he was right about it leaving a crack(erastian) for theonomists to try to wedge themselves in, the American revision shut that up in toto. Again that’s why you adhere the 1646 and not the 1788.

    But, you already know all this, but you wanna ‘game’ the conversation, and make Bucer and Calvin say Mosaic Case law is NORMATIVE in exhaustive detail unless specifically abrogated in the NT. They don’t, in fact they repudiate the concept and YOU know it, so when that falls on it’s face then you wanna game general equity, as if that’s what you really meant by NORMATIVE and in exhaustive detail. But again it’s not and WCF 19:4 turns out not only to not be theonomic but the general equity clause gets it’s traction in natural law as an appellate process against imago dei violations inherent in poorly adjudicated or poorly written king’s law. Dr Bahnsen eventually admitted his preference for the 1646 WCF because it was really difficult to get the general equity clause to say what he wanted it to say in the 1788 revision without the erastian provisions inherent in the 1646 WCF.

    So, go fish ‘double D’. and tell Pope Wilson to take it easy on us 2kers when he finally gets his way in the country, though if the moscovites are any marker, he has a tough time not getting called on his stuff in his own town. Them Idahoans know what’s what.

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  153. Nice try Sean, but you’re historical accuracy is still found wanting. Let’s face it, you’re sloppy. Kline also felt the revision was theonomic! LOL! LOL!

    What does that do, to you nice and tidy theory? After those *illuminating posts*, how can anyone take you seriously? Were you delibratly trying to decieve?

    Take another look-see:

    “The let us not think that this Law is a special Law for the Jews; but let us understand that God intended to deliver us a general rule, to which we must yield ourselves … Since, it is so, it is to be concluded, not only that it is lawful for all kings and magistrates, to punish heretics and such as have perverted the pure truth; but also that they be bound to do it, and that they misbehave themselves towards God, if they suffer errors to rest without redress, and employ not their whole power to shew greater zeal in their behalf than in all other things.”

    John Calvin, Sermon on Deuteronomy, sermon 87 on Deuteronomy 13:5

    What do you make of that paragraph, Sean? Can you say *theonomy*?

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  154. Darryl, let me see if I can help you out. Perhaps, you can *start* understanding J. Gresham Machen for the first time in your life. While it’s true that Machen didn’t want the Bible to be taught in government schools, it was because Machen didn’t trust school teachers to accurately handle the Word of truth. He didn’t want novices, or worse yet, unbelievers teaching doctrine. This is why Machen opposed doctrine being taught in public schools. It had nothing to do with you’re R2K scheme. Ironically, he did feel that government schools *should* adorn the written law of God, (you know, the written law you don’t feel is valid for the general public) Moreover, I believe Machen was correct.

    Ironic huh? Face it Darryl, Machen was not on R2K’s side.

    P.S. The double irony is; you wrote a book on a man, you have completely misunderstood. Darryl, this is why I wouldn’t trust you to teach Sunday school. You can’t get anything right.

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  155. DGH says: So what you and theonomists cannot do is reconcile how Machen (or Calvin) can say one thing that seems to support theonomy and another thing that does not.

    Franklin Harding answers your query:

    So, given the context of his times what Calvin seems to be doing in his literary methodological approach is that he writes against the Anabaptists who stressed the necessity to adopt the Mosaic judicials as a whole without making the necessary distinctions between the Mosaic judicials in toto and the general equity of the judicials. Once having done that Calvin embraces, for nations, what we would call the abiding “general equity” and insists that magistrates must have to do with the case law in their considerations.

    See Darryl? That wasn’t so hard, no?

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  156. @Mike K.

    I hope you’ve been paying attention. Because the *work* Dr Hart has done on Machen, was a colossal waste of time, as his question to me illustrates. He never understood Machen at all! Darryl became flummoxed, in what he *construed* were contradictions in Machen and Calvin, but as I’ve just pointed out above, were not conflicts at all. Why was Hart, so easily confused? His antipathy against theonomy has clouded his reasoning process imho.

    I can only hope the same doesnt happen to you.

    Keep pressing on to the higher calling!

    Doug

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  157. Doug, your confusion is matched, maybe even exceeded by your arrogance. But 2k has always been clear that Calvin was a man of his Constantinian times and couldn’t have conceived of modern political arrangements nor the sorts of revisions to the confessions as a result. 2k is with Kuyper when he did not at all hide the fact that he disagreed with Calvin (our confessions and our Reformed theologians) on the magistrate. In a word, Calvin was wrong. Can theos admit when Calvin or Kuyper wasn’t on their side? Or is the idea to wrench and twist words in order to gain Reformed royalty for one’s views? The way theonomy makes hay of WCF 19, it sure looks like the latter.

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  158. Doug,

    I gotta work. I’m more than content to let my posts stand. But besides the other quotations directly refuting any sort of semblance to Bahnsenian theonomy much less Christ. Reconst. and your refusal to acknowledge what you know to be true of the Erastian impulse of the time.

    Here’s Calvin arguing Rom 2:14-15, equity, conscience and Natural Law.

    “What I have said will become plain if we attend, as we ought, to two things connected with all laws, viz., the enactment of the law, and the equity on which the enactment is founded and rests. Equity, as it is NATURAL, cannot but be the same in all, and therefore ought to be proposed by all laws, according to the nature of the thing enacted. As constitutions have some circumstances on which they partly depend, there is nothing to prevent their diversity, provided they all alike aim at equity as their end.

    “Now, as it is evident that the law of God which we call moral, is nothing else than the testimony of NATURAL LAW, and of that conscience which God has engraven on the minds of men, the whole of this equity of which we now speak is prescribed in it. Hence it alone ought to be the aim, the rule, and the end of all laws.

    Wherever laws are formed after this rule, directed to this aim, and restricted to this end, there is no reason why they should be disapproved by us, however much they may differ from the Jewish law, or from each other, (August. de Civil. Dei, Lib. 19 c. 17.)

    On the heels of that comes this;

    “This I would rather have passed in silence, were I not aware that many dangerous errors are here committed. For there are some who deny that any commonwealth is rightly framed which neglects the law of Moses, and is ruled by the common law of nations. How perilous and seditious these views are, let others see: for me it is enough to demonstrate that they are stupid and false.”

    There’s a lot more, but i gotta get. So, putting aside Christendom, your theonomist Calvin, was very 2k and natural lawish, and showed no predilection for your brand of Normative and exhaustive detail unless specifically abrogated in the NT.

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  159. Doug, exactly, and that’s why Machen, a libertarian, also stood up for the rights of Communists and Roman Catholics to have their own schools. You’re missing an important feature (in most things) here. Machen was committed to political liberty of the old Constitutional, states rights variety. That means limited government. But you want the government to administer God’s law. That means unlimited government. Doug, you’re really failing at logic here.

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  160. Gents,

    A lot of traffic here – to much to comment on. In fact, by the time I get the chance to reply back to Zrim, the discussion is already “old news.” 🙂 (Sorry Darryl).

    But what I see here is a spectrum between full “Bahnsenian” theonomy (as Sean calls it) and the radical two kingdom position. In other words, for me to prove 2K wrong, I do not have to prove that theonomy is true. I simply have to refute Zrim’s statement that: “The Bible says nothing about how the world should run.” (Approximate quote from a while ago.). I truly believe that the vast majority or reformed Christians would disagree with that.

    Even if we all were to agree that the Mosaic Civil codes no longer apply directly to us, couldn’t we agree that we can extract some very important PRINCIPLES from them? I mean, wouldn’t it be better if we used restitution instead of jail time? Wouldn’t it be better if child molesters were never given a second chance to hurt someone else? (I know Zrim would rather leave them to their 90% rescindency rate, but I’m not sure that would make a better society.)

    I believe that there is a huge amount of wisdom to be taken from the entire Old Testament that would make our country much better if applied. Private property, 8th commandment, etc. Why even argue this?

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  161. Another thought that came to me on my drive today:

    Is r2k self-contradictory? In other words, isn’t saying that the church should not define the role of government, defining the role of government? When 2k says that the church should keep to its jurisdiction and the civil gov’t to its jurisdiction, it is by default outlining the limits of government. You wouldn’t want the mayor to come give communion, would you? But how could you say that’s not his role if you have nothing to say about his role?!

    2k seems to fall under the same problem that skeptics have (i.e., they KNOW for certain that we can’t KNOW anything for certain!)

    I don’t say this to be mean, but rather to explain why this theory can’t hold up under practice. This could also explain why 2k’ers have a hard time answering specific questions/applications. Again, I’m not trying to say you’re stupid – Zrim and Darryl are way smarter than me – but just to point out a problem.

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  162. Jon, first, why do you need to go to the 8th commandment to protect private property? Every American believes it even if they don’t know the Decalogue. What you’re not fathoming is the revelation of moral truth outside the Bible. Yes, it can all be suppressed. But sometimes it isn’t. That’s a good thing. Let’s celebrate the positive (as we are wont to do here at Old Life).

    Second, you haven’t caught us in a contradiction since 2k affirms what the Reformed tradition has affirmed — that the church may only speak on what God reveals. Since the Bible doesn’t command the church to speak to government about its laws, then the church is silent. This also means that Christians have liberty where the Bible is silent. Some may believe that taxes are theft and form a political party. Others may believe that U.S. tax policy is regressive and work to redistribute wealth. They are free in Christ to do so because the Bible is silent.

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  163. Jon, for 2k to show how neo-Calvinism is misguided to suggest that the Bible reveals how the world should run is to switch out the Constitution with the Bible and say, “Now run, America.” It won’t happen because the Bible says nothing about how to arrange and govern a republic. It has a lot to say, however, about how to arrange and govern the church.

    And in point of fact, there are principles from the Mosaic code that apply directly to us. The principles to draw from the Mosaic code and apply are how sinful and entirely unholy people are (and so how desperate we are for gospel). I’m sure you’d agree to some extent, but the problem is that once you start drawing something else you are undermining the very point of the law. The law is a pointer to Christ (second use–are you listening, Doug?). It is not a handbook for societal or legislative arrangements. This is why theonomy is actually about as un-Reformed as any system could get, because it actually distracts sinners from their need for Christ. So, talk about self-contradictory: a Reformed system that ends up working against the second use of the law and completely undermining messianic fulfillment. But if you want to win a petty semantic war of words (“saying the Bible says nothing about civil arrangements is itself a way of saying the Bible says something about civil arrangements”), knock yourself out. I get it, it’s cute. But I am answering your specific questions and not really much of a hard time doing it. It is fun though.

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  164. Darryl,

    “Since the Bible doesn’t command the church to speak to government about its laws, then the church is silent.”

    Even if I granted the argument from silence, I don’t see how it holds up. The Bible also doesn’t say to not drive Ford cars into buildings, but we know that’s wrong from other principles.

    But the Bible’s not silent on a host of principles that apply directly to government:

    Just weights and measures
    Private property rights
    Building fences around dangerous places, etc.

    “This also means that Christians have liberty where the Bible is silent. Some may believe that taxes are theft and form a political party. Others may believe that U.S. tax policy is regressive and work to redistribute wealth. They are free in Christ to do so because the Bible is silent.”

    Redistribution is theft by definition. If I stole Zrim’s money to pay my children’s education, you would call that stealing. The burden of proof falls on you to show why it magically enters the realm of “liberty” the second the civil government does it. Would it be morally right for a cop to shoot an innocent person just because he has a badge? It seems ludicrous.

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  165. Jon, and where, where, where!!! do you find Jesus or the apostles telling the Roman or Jewish authorities to make sure they use just weights and measures or enforce property rights (be careful about Onesimus)? The church is not Israel. The church doesn’t have weights or measures. Israel was a civil polity.

    BTW, if you know from other sources not to drive a Ford (why not a Rambler?) into a building, why are you so consistent when you insist on the Bible as the basis for morality?

    And you keep begging the question on taxes. Taxes you disapprove are stealing. Huh? Find where Scripture reveals what Jon disapproves.

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  166. Darryl: “Jon, and where, where, where!!! do you find Jesus or the apostles telling the Roman or Jewish authorities to make sure they use just weights and measures or enforce property rights (be careful about Onesimus)? The church is not Israel. The church doesn’t have weights or measures.”

    Jon: so is your hermeneutic that a law is not in force unless the New Testament states or restates it? That is dispensationalism.

    Darryl: “BTW, if you know from other sources not to drive a Ford (why not a Rambler?) into a building, why are you so consistent when you insist on the Bible as the basis for morality?”

    Jon: I wasn’t trying to make the point that I got that principle from another source. I was trying to say that I adapted an Old Testament principle to fit a modern context.

    Darryl: “And you keep begging the question on taxes. Taxes you disapprove are stealing. Huh? Find where Scripture reveals what Jon disapproves.”

    Jon: but my point wasn’t that any tax that Jon disagrees with is stealing. My point is that certain actions are stealing, regardless of who does them. Example: picture yourself going to your grandparent’s farm when he just passed away. All of a sudden, men break in and carry away half of everything he had. What would you think just happened? Now picture the government doing it. It’s called the estate tax. And it’s stealing.

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  167. Jon, so Jesus and the apostles were dispensationalists? As if they didn’t say anything about discontinuity between the OT and the NT? And are you really going with everything in the OT? Or do you “interpret” it? That’s what dispensationalists do.

    And the OT has something to say about driving automobiles? I don’t even think Orthodox Jews would go there.

    The difference between taxes and stealing is that the latter is arbitrary and you never know when it will happen, who is going to do it, or the reason. A tax is passed by a legislature, citizens have plenty of heads up about it, they can even appeal it to a court. That’s a lot of process to qualify as stealing. Your interpretive slip is showing.

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  168. Stan Hauerwas addressing Roman Catholics who made their own “revisions” to adjust to American ideas of religious liberty: “when Catholics came to America you learned—though it is not yet a lesson you have taken to heart—that your “natural law” ethic was community- and tradition-specific. You came to America with a moral theology shaped by the presuppositions of Catholic Constantinianism. Natural law was the name you gave to the moral practices and principles you had discovered were essential to Christian living in that barbarian wilderness we now call Western Civilization.

    You could continue to believe in the theoretical validity of a natural law ethic, even, or perhaps especially, one interpreted through Kantian eyes, as long as you saw the sociological and historical center of your life in Europe. After all, Protestantism, whether in its Lutheran, Calvinist, or Anglican forms, still had to make do with societies that had been formed Catholic—which is but a reminder that Protestantism remains sociologically a parasitical form of the Christian faith. Without Catholicism, Protestants make no sense, a hard truth for Catholic and Protestant alike to acknowledge.

    Yet everything changed when you came to America. By “came” I mean when Catholics took up the project of being Americans rather than Catholics who happened to live in America. For when you came to America for the first time, you had to live in a culture that was based on Protestant presuppositions and habits now transformed by Enlightenment ideologies. For the first time you had to live in a society that was putatively Christian and yet in which you were not “at home.” The church knew how to live in cultures that were completely foreign—as in India and Japan—but how could you learn to live in America, a culture which at once looked Christian but seemed in certain ways more foreign than China?

    It was a confusing challenge for Catholics. You came here with the habits and practices of a Constantinian ethic allegedly based on natural-law presumptions, and you discovered that to sustain those habits you had to act like a sect. Protestant Constantinianism forced Catholic Constantinians to withdraw into your own enclaves—your own ghettos—in order to maintain the presumption that you possessed an ethic based on natural-law grounds. What a wonderful thing God did to you.

    For example, you came to America thinking that societies had the obligation to educate children about the true and the good. Yet confronted by supposedly neutral public education that presumed that everyone agreed that church and state ought to be separated, you were forced to build your own school system. Where else would Catholics learn that the life of the mind could not and should not be separated from the life of prayer?

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/08/004-the-importance-of-being-catholic-a-protestant-view–13

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  169. Stan H: This emphasis on “American” might be interpreted in a purely descriptive manner meant to denote the unavoidability of the American reality. No doubt at times it does mean simply that. Yet it also means in Catholic theology in general that “American” is a normative recommendation that should change how moral theology is done. Moreover, it is a recommendation that is in continuity with the deepest well-spring of past Roman Catholic theology—namely, that grace completes nature and thus moral theology can be based on the assumption that there is no fundamental tension between a general societal ethos and specifically Catholic moral conviction.

    Dennis McCann in his New Experiment in Democracy: Americanism is not shameful “indulgence” but… “a liberation to new duty given by the grace of God, which leads to voluntary community, disciplined personal life, lay intellectuality, and social outreach.” Leo XIII failed to grasp the Americanists’ hope that such a liberation also occurs for the sake of the church. America thus is an experiment in which the primordial freedom of the church to order its own life is taken as the basis for the organization of political, economic, educational, familial, and other aspects of life.

    Stan H, who does not agree with McCann, comments: “The only difficult, according to McCann is that the ‘ liberty’ valued by John Courtney Murray has not been fully realized by the church after Vatican II. Yet McCann is convinced that the future is with the Americanist, as it is the “consistent tendency of Catholics to define their own integrity in terms of this nation’s ongoing experiment in self governing association.”

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  170. Jon, have you ever considered why “they were amazed” in Mark 12 when told to render unto Caesar his due? It wasn’t because the point was to file honestly and on time, since how could anyone possibly be amazed by such an ordinary and obvious ethic? It was because they were expecting the Messiah to give them some sort of loophole to resist the magistrate, maybe make some sort of argument that the taxes they paid an intrusive and foreign king was actually stealing. But no such clever argument, just a command to give him his due no matter how or why.

    It’s interesting how theonomists get so amazed over 2k claims, not least how taxation isn’t stealing.

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  171. Leonard Verduin, Anatomy of a Hybrid, p44—“The subjugation of the Israelite state and its mass deportation to a foreign country was a traumatic experience. The trauma was not simply due to the
    inconvenience and hardship naturally attending such dislocation and resettlement of an entire people in a strange and foreign land, although these were no doubt bitter enough. What hurt much more deeply was the religious implication of the exile. Because of it, the people of God lost their regnum; only the sacerdotium remained to them. No longer could Israel be what other tribal groups were and what it had been in the past–an entity in which ‘church’ and ‘state’ were partners. Because of the captivity, Israel had to learn to live under a king who was not circumcised, while it continued to worship under a priest who was. This created a situation unlike that of any other nation under the sun.”

    Jeremiah 27:12–Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live..

    Jeremiah 29:7–But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

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  172. Jon, hang in there brother 🙂

    You’re making more sense, then all of these R2Kers put together. Please don’t become frustrated when they refuse to answer direct questions, they can’t. Because R2K is internally incoherent. They’re feet are planted firmly in mid-air. They have no foundation for *why* they believe *what* they believe. In this respect they are exactly like atheists.

    This is absolutely necessary since they have divorced themselves from the Bible, and have become like blind mice running around without a standard. Darryl told me the other day, everyone has a standard. Well, Darryl *might* have a standard, (for general society) he just can’t figure out what it is. They’re foundation is built on sand.

    Greg Bahnsen was right; it’s either theonomy, or autonomy. Sadly Hart, Zrim, and Sean, have hitched their wagons to autonomy. They would rather a society base its laws on the autonomous reasoning’s of man, rather than the Rock of God’s Word. The second we look to the Bible, they get hysterical and scream, “we can’t do that”! “Why, what would the heathen think”? Or this classic, “how will the homosexual come to Jesus, if we believe it’s a sin/crime worthy of death”?

    Jon, as you pointed out, Zrim is inconsistent, (what else is new?) since he’s *for* the DP for murder. So Zrim is trapped in his own hypocritical contradiction, not even being true to his own paradigm. Jon, you are light years ahead of these Biblical lightweights.

    Keep pressing on!

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  173. Darryl, Jesus said that *we* are the salt of the world, but beware, for if salt loses its saltiness, then it’s only good for being stepped on by the foot of the Gentile. This is exactly where you’re “Bible-less” theology takes you. Once you divorce the Bible from social relevance, *you* become irrelevant when it comes to socio political ethics. You’re a bloody mess. You have nothing to say to Queer Nation. Shall they parade down your street? What could you say? After all, according to you, the Bible has nothing to say in the political arena.

    Look at your cohort in crime, young foolish Zrim: He said, he would probably vote *for* homosexual’s to have the right to call what they do to themselves, marriage. After all, Zrim has said, “laws don’t change things”. LOL! LOL! Zrim wants to give sodomites, not only the blessing of legality, to do what God calls an abomination. But he would put their vile act on par, with marriage! God says, if a man lays with a man, like a women, then they must both be surely be put to death. Zrim, wants to throw rice at their wedding. See a problem? I do.

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  174. Darryl: “Jon, so Jesus and the apostles were dispensationalists?”

    No, Jesus said: “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-20)

    Darryl: “And the OT has something to say about driving automobiles? I don’t even think Orthodox Jews would go there.”

    Jon: No, but it has much to say about endangering peoples’ lives and protecting private property. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

    Darryl: “The difference between taxes and stealing is that the latter is arbitrary and you never know when it will happen, who is going to do it, or the reason. A tax is passed by a legislature, citizens have plenty of heads up about it, they can even appeal it to a court. That’s a lot of process to qualify as stealing. Your interpretive slip is showing.”

    Jon: Darryl, with all due respect, this one made me laugh a little. Stealing is okay as long as I know about it in advance?! Stealing is okay as long as it receives 51% of the vote? (mob rule).

    Let’s make up a scenario where we all vote to tax only the richest man in the country 100% of his income (not that that could possibly fund our gov’t). Would that make it right since it received popular vote?

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  175. Zrim,

    Your reference to Mark 12 proves the exact opposite point as you desire, IMO. The reason the disciples were so amazed is that Jesus was commanding them to submit to an UNJUST rule! So the rule/tax was obviously going AGAINST the Biblical ethic! This is what caused the shock in the disciples.

    What Darryl and you need to see is that there is a huge difference between commanding us to SUBMIT to an unjust law, and the justness of that law itself. There is nothing wrong with submitting to an unjust law, but that does not mean the law is therefore just. The law itself may be unjust and violate Scripture’s guidelines.

    BTW theonomists never recommend disobeying the civil magistrates (unless they directly contradict God’s laws, i.e., telling you to abort your baby). They advocate appealing to lower levels of government to fight the higher forms of government and change the rule.

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  176. Jon, did Jesus call taxes theft or did he tell the Pharisees to pay them? Did Paul tell Christians to submit to authorities — even Nero — or did believers have the interpretive power to call the god-ordained authorities thieves?

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  177. Sean, has God changed his mind? Do a little reading in the Old Testament. We read of Cities and Nations being judged by God for sexual depravity. Sodom and Gomorrah, the Amorites, and Israel come to mind. Are you saying that today, God no longer cares about sexual immorality? Will God just look the other way, and give the Nations a pass today? Sean, would you, like Zrim, vote for sodomites to legally marry? Or will you distance yourself from Zrim?

    Dr Hart, would you vote *for* sodomites to marry? If not, why not?

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  178. Be careful there Dougie. You know what they sayeth about thoth who doth protesteth too muth………….LOL LOL LOL …..ROFL….LMAO.

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  179. Sean, Zrim, and DGH, Thomas Cartwright ranked as the most highly esteemed Puritan in English Presbyterianism. Listen to his perspective on the Law, and I quote:

    “And as for the judicial Law, for as much as there are some of them made, in regard of the region where there were given, and of the people to whom they were given, keeping the substance and the equity of them as it were the marrow may change the circumstance of them as the times of places and manners of the people shall require. But to say that any Magistrate can save the life of any blasphemers, contemptuous and stubborn idolaters, murderers, adulterers, and incestuous persons and such like , which God by his judicial law hath commanded to be put to death, I do utterly deny and I am ready to prove if that pertains to this question”.

    Me: Notice my Brothers, how confident and sure Cartwright was that the Magistrate should enforce the Mosaic Law on wicked men *today*! And he felt it was easy to prove. Now Zrim, its one thing for you to disagree with theonomy. But how can you say, it’s not reformed when Cartwright just affirmed it? You can have your own opinion, but you can’t make up your own facts. Cartwright sure sounded theonomic to me.

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  180. Doug, I would vote against gay marriage because 1) I should not support sin and 2) because my hunch is it will be bad for American society (not that endorsing hetero marriage has turned out so well).

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  181. Wow, Doug. I had never heard that sixteenth-century Reformed theologians believed that some sins were worthy of capital punishment. Have you heard that no twenty-first century theologians still believe this? Please don’t mention contemporary theonomists. After all the changes among Reformed Protestants on how to interpret the OT since the 16th, theonomists are to theology by flat-earthers are to natural science.

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  182. Doug, you’re misrepresenting me. What I’ve said is that I see an alternative to the gay marriage question beyond the forced and simplistic legislative “yea” or “nay.” It’s called abstention and it’s used when one finds either option unsatisfactory. In this case, when one is indeed opposed to homosexuality enjoying the sanction of marriage, but also opposed to culture war and political efforts to marginalize a particular class of sinners.

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  183. Jon, exactly. But where is there any suggestion that one may therefore undermine one’s magistrate by saying he is stealing from you by imposing this or that tax? You’re showing your theonomist tick by having the letter of the law down, but what about the spirit of the law? That’s actually what Jesus is doing in his ministry—raising the bar, as in “you’ve heard it said, but I say to you.”

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  184. Darryl, you missed Jon’s point. Jon is talking about the ethics of taxation. Is something ethical just because we make it a law? If you drove up to my house and parked in my drive way, and I pulled out a knife and stabbed you in the heart, (because I hate oil dripping on my drive way) many, if not most of us, would call that murder. BUT, if I had a badge on my chest, (and I’m the law) does that change the ethics of what just transpired? I hope you would say no.

    Does the Bible have anything to say about over taxing? Didn’t God warn Israel that Kings would steal from them, in the form of a tax? Or are you actually saying that once we call something a tax, that makes it ethical?

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  185. Zrim and Darryl,

    1 Samuel 8:10

    So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will *take* your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will *take* the tenth of your grain and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will *take* the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will *take* your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will *take* the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    Notice that God sees taxing as a form of stealing and bondage in this context. Look at all the times God says that king will *take* from you. Are all taxes unethical? I would say no. But *can* taxes be unethical? Of course! Just look at how our tax dollars go to fund abortion! Is that pleasing to God? Of course not! So how are we to discern which taxes are are ethical and which are unethical? This is why; we must be good students of God’s Word! The Bible gives us, some much needed guidance, and direction in the arena of socio political ethics. And to bolster Jon’s point, not all taxes are ethical. Just read the Bible for proof.

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  186. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/

    But I wonder if there is room in the coalition for those who deny that it’s a good thing to be Assyrian magistrate, while affirming God’s sovereignty and use of Assyrian magistrates. Or is this merely raising the question about if we need a Republican with rhetoric about smaller government to become the next Assyrian magistrate who increases the Pentagon budget?

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  187. John Howard Yoder, “Exodus and Exile”, Cross Currents 23:3, 1974, p306—“The Joseph/Daniel/Mordecai model is more often the fitting contribution to the pagan community than any theocratic takeover. The complement to the Exodus of the counter-community is a not a
    revolution by the righteous oppressed, but rather the message of the resident minority.”

    Yoder, For the Nations, p69—“Jesus further validated the already expressed Jewish reasons, for the already existing ethos of not being in charge and not considering any local state structure to be the
    primary movement of history.”

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  188. And, Doug, you are missing the point that it’s not the onus of believers to find clever ways to undermine our magistrates as thieves, rather it is the obligation of believers to: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

    There’s an externalistic form of showing subjectivity to the emperor as supreme and showing him honor (gasp, Doug, did Peter really say “supreme”? Better break out the logic and show the apostle how that sort of language could corrupt pious souls.) But the spirit of obedience is one that can have scruples about certain things taxes may fund but at the same time refrain from doing or saying things that actually sound a lot more like an undermining disobedience.

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  189. Mark, from Reformed evangelicals to soft and hard neo-Calvinists, evidently there is nothing on which the Bible is silent. But if, as Wilson suggest, the Bible affirms small government and opposes expansive government then why would Paul tell us to submit to the Roman EMPIRE? Could it be that the point has more to do with Christian obedience than with secular arrangements?

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  190. I agree, Zrim. The command is not to figure out for the world how to ignore Jesus and still “manage history” the correct way. Those who want to ignore Jesus don’t need our help on how to do that.Nor will we find anything in the Bible to help them do it without Jesus. It is not even our task as the justified elect to become a “model” for the world and how “they should do it”. The world exists for the sake of the church, and not the other way around.

    Ephesians 1:9-11–” making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…”

    The elect are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and this means that logically
    Christ was before the elect in the counsel of God. Those who say that Christ died for every sinner think that they honor Christ by saying that the decree for Christ to die is before the decree to elect some sinners. They claim in this way to put Christ before election. They claim in this way to think of Christ as Creator of all independently of Christ as Redeemer of the elect.

    The death of Christ is not God’s motive in God’s election in love. God’s election in love is the motive of the death of Christ. Jesus Christ is first. Jesus, the incarnate eternal Son of God in the flesh, is the foundation of election by being Himself the object of election. “All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things.”

    God’s creation is for the purpose of the redemption of the elect. Thus we can deny that God has some second “cultural only” purpose for the creation. So we don’t have to look in the Bible to find directions for how the non-justified can still somehow please God without submitting to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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  191. Doug, and you missed God’s point. Whether or not you agree with the “minister” of God, Peter and Paul say you should submit. Wearing a badge makes a difference. Passing a tax code makes a difference. But I figure you don’t really believe in “ministers” since you have God’s law and that makes you an anarchist when it comes to human authorities.

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  192. Darryl,

    “But I figure you don’t really believe in “ministers” since you have God’s law and that makes you an anarchist when it comes to human authorities.”

    That’s not being fair to Doug and you know it. Please take it back. I GAURANTEE Doug submits to his rulers and is not an anarchist.

    I can find no where, where Bahnsen recommended anarchy.

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  193. Darryl, Zrim, et al,

    Do you believe abortion is murder? Yes or no? If so, is it anarchy to tell your rulers such?

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  194. Darryl, Zrim, Sean, et al,

    Here’s a thought experiment to see how we would deal with a situation:

    Imagine we had a wicked ruler. As bad as Nero. He wasn’t a Christian. We would submit to him, but on what grounds would you judge him as bad? He’s working off natural law. But he can equally interpret natural law as the most Godly of saints. So how could you tell him he was wrong? Would you tell him he was misinterpreting natural law? But he could just come back and say he’s interpreting it correctly; it’s you who is wrong. You CAN’T show him the Bible (it doesn’t apply, remember?). The standard for ethics changes when you enter the civil realm, right? So on what grounds could you tell him he was wrong? I know you will say to simply submit to him, but imagine he took you in as his advisor and asked you what you thought of his policies. He said that he thought he was being true to natural law, but he wanted your opinion. What do you tell him?

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  195. Jon, a Christian secularist isn’t the same as a legal secularist. Unlike the latter, the former doesn’t think the Bible is off limits in the public arena, which is why some of us don’t have any problem appealing to the sixth and second greatest commandments when it comes to the question of abortion–though those ethics are also found in natural revelation, and there are still important problems to consider about the place of the Bible in the public arena.

    And submission to a ruler doesn’t mean there cannot be disagreement, nor that a disagreement can’t be voiced, even vigorously. But the Proverbial point is that there is a time and a place and even a disposition for it all. My own sense from your scenario is that if there isn’t victory then there is failure. But if you lose the day on something then you live with losing and come back another day to try and win. The question for the theonomically and warrior inclined is how to live with defeat and frustration. I see much room for that kind of humility, which is why theonomy seems like the Reformed version of prosperity gospel for the politically and legislatively disposed.

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  196. Jon, I know it’s unfair and believe it or not your theonomic buddy has not always been fair himself. But the way you and Doug hurl around epithets about our rulers, I am not sensing a deep, deep reverence for the “ministers” that Doug proposes when it’s convenient for him.

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  197. Jon, there are plenty of grounds in Roman history for telling an Emperor that empires were not the way that republics were supposed to turn out, that emperors have too much power, and that too much power leads to all sorts of corruption. Really, Rome started as a republic. It was a model (in part) for the United States. The Romans believed that limited government was a good thing (and it is not at all clear that the Bible says anything about limited government or especially about republics since all of the models for good govt. are kings — David and Jesus.)

    But your question only raises a whole additional set of issues that people who are politically active but moralistically inclined do not seem to consider, and it is the sort of problem faced by Joseph and Daniel. I could well imagine telling Nero that he should call of the empire and return Rome to a republic. I could also see telling him that Christians were problems for Rome because of their monotheism, and that some sort of solution was necessary (as in imprisoning or executing them). And then I would tell him that I too was a Christian.

    You see, redemption and creation do not always line up. What is good for public order (natural law) is not necessarily what is good for the church (special revelation).

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  198. Darryl, was John the Baptist being irreverent, when he called King Herod “lawless” for marrying his brothers wife?

    Didn’t John the Baptist *know* that rulers should only follow general revelations, or natural law, and not special revelation? What *law* do you suppose Herod was breaking, Roman Law? LOL! LOL!

    Of course to even ask these questions, puts the lie to your whole ridiculous premise. A premise founded on sand, not the Rock of God’s Word.

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  199. Doug, and this is why I would always avoid a theonomist as a pastor. I actually tried to engage you and answer a couple of your questions and all you can do in response is say “ridiculous” and point to how I’ve erred. For you God’s word is a club with which to beat up the other guy. I see nothing of the mercy of Christ in your reasoning (as logical as it certainly must be). WOL. WOL.

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  200. Darryl,

    Fair enough, but I’m confused about how natural revelation could ever conflict with special revelation. Aren’t they both God’s? How could they contradict one another?

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  201. Jon, Israelites could not eat pork. Maybe trivial, but it’s a start.

    It’s the kind of distinction that leads to noticing the difference between what the magistrate does and what ministers do. God wants magistrates to punish offenders. God wants ministers to plead the forgiveness of Christ to offenders.

    Starting to wrestle with that difference puts you on the 2k road (to recovery).

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  202. Fair enough, but I’m confused about how natural revelation could ever conflict with special revelation. Aren’t they both God’s? How could they contradict one another?

    Precisely Jon! I have asked Zrim and Dr Hart a zillion times if special revelation contradicts natural law, and they always *say* no. But when we actually attempt to take some of God’s statutes seriously, they come unglued, pee their pants, and squeal like pigs. “We couldn’t do that”, “why, what would the heathen think”? “What if we executed them before they could come to Jesus”, and on and on, and on, and on.
    Don’t expect a cogent answer, Darrly never answers direct questions 😦

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  203. Doug, whatever John the Baptizer’s confrontation of Herod means, it still has to be read within the context of overwhelming NT data about obedience and submission. Reformed hermeneutics is all about interpreting parts in light of the whole, so it seems to me the burden is on you to show how that one instance makes the case for violating the spirituality of the church and hay of WCF 31.5, to say nothing of it squares with texts like Romans 13:1-7 or 1 Peter 2.

    And I wonder if you consider what the familial version of the sort of civil confrontation you think is so admirable looks like. Do you accept as becoming and submissive confrontations of you from your wife and children?

    Re natural and special revelation, the point about the problems inherent in applying biblical law to the civic order keeps eluding you. Maybe if you considered how the Protestant liberals wanted an Applied Christianity that put NT ethics into political practice it’ll finally sink in. What was the problem with the liberals, Doug? Was it that they picked the NT ethics instead of OT law, or maybe that you associate liberal Christianity with liberal politics, and the problem was that applying NT ethics leads to progressive polity (whereas applying OT law is friendly to rightist polity)?

    But 2kers oppose applying either OT law or NT ethics because both make the Bible into a handbook for societal arrangement instead of a revelation for being right with God. You know, as in Jesus’ own hermeneutic about what the Bible is all about: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” Theonomists and liberals are two sides of the same skewed pharisaical coin.

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  204. John the Baptist was a Jewish prophet and Herod was a Jew ostensibly under the jurisdiction of the Law, not a Roman Gentile. There are also practical challenges to the usual applications of the theonomic interpretation since the only realistic candidates for an analogous position today would be Jeremiah Wright or Thomas Monson.

    Incidentally, if either the Baptist or the Holy Spirit were Internet theonomists before the Internet, I can’t imagine how the New Testament allows the Massacre of the Innocents to pass without further comment.

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  205. Zrim says: But 2kers oppose applying either OT law or NT ethics because both make the Bible into a handbook for societal arrangement instead of a revelation for being right with God.

    Zrim, any attempt to divorce God’s Word, from socio political ethics, is the height of folly. Like a man building a house on sand. For you to blatantly assert, you wouldn’t use the Old or New Testament for guidance on ethics, puts you in the enemy’s camp. You argue just like an atheist. (Christopher Hitchens comes to mind) The more you and Hart go on, I wonder how either of you, are Christian in any meaningful sense? You both seem much more agnostic. Why not be honest, and become 100% politically correct? You’re about 95% there, as we speak.

    Zrim, you would make a wonderful spokesman for the American teachers union. There you can gladly deny that the Bible has any authority or relevance in the public square. At least you wouldn’t have to keep the up pretense of pretending to believe the Bible.

    Moreover, every time you attempt to educate anyone on God’s Word, you make it obvious you either don’t understand the Bible, or don’t believe it. Either way, you’re an embarrassing advocate when you *claim* that you’re a Christian. If you really are a believer, then you need to humble yourself and zip your lip. The more you write, the worse it gets for you. I think you would feel much more at home with unbelievers

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  206. Doug, and the more you go on the more Gilbert Tennent comes to mind. More proof that theonomy is revivalism for the politically obsessed. But if you reject Jesus’ own hermeneutic about the Bible generally, I doubt there’s much hope for pointing out the dangers of peering into hearts. At least Tennent had the sense to reign in his folly at some point.

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  207. Doug,

    I am briefly emerging from my vacation imposed silence (here in central WA) to answer your issues with regard to John the Baptist. Your reading of his condemnation of a Roman King is a bit vaunted – all John did was inform his magistrate that his marriage to Herodias was not lawful. There were no harsh invectives given by John, his account of Herod’s sin seemed matter of fact. The narrative indicates that Herod had past dealings with John where John may have built the rapport with the king to offer spiritual advice, and that he seemed to like to hear John speak, holding him in some regard – so there seemed to be little acrimony between the two. The narratives in both Matthew and Mark indicate that John was addressing Herod directly, with no one else as an implied audience, so John’s prophetic word could have been given in private.

    The narrative nowhere indicates that John was publicly decrying the marriage between Herod and Herodias. However, since this possibility is not ruled out, we can address this quite simply. John was a prophet in the Old Covenant economy, and these prophets were charged in their prophetic ministries to address the sinfulness present in every class of society – rulers, religious leaders, and the general public – and they did so across international boundaries. With the New Covenant, John’s type of ministry gave way to the new apostolic ministry, which did include calling sinners to repentance, but was focused on the forgiveness to be found in Christ and the citizenship to be had in the Kingdom of God through his work (characterized by discipleship), not the political matters of the day. All one needs to do is note the difference in rhetoric between the apostles, and their Old Covenant prophetic forebarers – the prophets addressed political maladies in some detail, calling leaders to account again and again; the apostles called human governments a “minister of good” and an institution that the believers were to submit to. In no place does an apostle decry a political figure for their sin – even Paul before Felix and Agrippa addressed them with the utmost respect as he testified to his ministry in the gospel.

    So, John the Baptist hardly sets forth a model for Christian ministry in our day. The prophetic mission of the church is to carry the oracles of God in the gospel which not only exposes sin, but points to it’s ultimate remedy. The church has not been given sanction to deal with the political matters of the day, the Great Commission gives simple strictures – Word, Sacrament, Discipleship (or the three marks in Belgic 29). As for how individual Christians engage politics, there is no detailed model given in Scripture, but any matter brought before the magistrate must be done with respect for the fact that rulers are appointed by God, even if and when they err, and are deserving of the Christian’s utmost respect. To me, this is why 2k makes for a good model of cultural and political engagement – it allows for some freedom amongst individual Christians to “seek the good of the city”, without dragging the church into political matters or making ever political cause a “Christian” cause.

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  208. Jon, ok: theonomy is for those with more faith in the power of politics and legislation. 2k is for those more agnostic about said power.

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  209. Jed thanks for your thoughtful post 🙂

    I agree that as Christians we must have respect, and honor for our leaders, after all, theonomists believe in the sovereignty of God 🙂 Who foreordained that Obama would be our President? God did, therefore as Christians we submit, knowing that God has an overarching reason for Obama to be where he is.

    Proverbs 21:1 says:

    The king’s heart is a steam of water in the hand of the LORD” and he turns it wherever he will.

    Every decision the king makes has been foreordained by God. So if we fear God, we *know* that God is the author of history, and even the evil actions of men will wind up working out for the ultimate *good* of those who love God, and are called according to his purposes. Even though, not all decisions a king (or magistrate) makes are good. Sometimes, they make evil decisions. Can we submit to the Magistrate, while calling the Magistrate to account from God’s law? I say, yes we can! And there is no contradiction.

    And no, as a theonomist, I don’t think the Church needs to be necessarily embroiled into every political argument. Although when it comes to core moral imperatives like, murder, rape, kidnapping, child molesting, abortion, the Bible has much to say. And no, I don’t want to re-create Israel. The Mosaic economy, with its ordinances, moons, festivals, and Sabbaths, has expired with the State of Israel. The Mosaic Law has lost its force, except for the general equity.

    Which simply means laws that are intrinsically moral, laws that applied to both Jew and Gentile. You know laws with their corresponding penal sanctions for rape, murder, sodomy, child molestation, blasphemy and theft. That is what are reformers meant by general equity.

    As Christians we can submit to authority, and still call our leaders to account. These concepts are not mutually exclusive. This seems to be you all’s main concern. At least we have that right in America. While saying Jesus is Lord would have gotten your head cut off back in Rome, now through the triumph of the gospel, we have the liberty to proclaim the full counsel of God’s Word to our leaders, as God gives us the strength and wisdom. Our President calls himself a Christian!

    I have had some heated debates, with other believers, that we shouldn’t disrespect our President by making fun of his name. Even though we *should* and *must* oppose some of his policies, like abortion, and same sex marriage. Theonomy asks a more fundamental question, when does the punishment fit the crime? Can the punishment be a crime? I would say yes! So if we love our neighbor, we should pray for, and put pressure on our leaders to account with God’s law.

    Or, are we to sit by silently and watch millions of our unborn get slaughtered, and say nothing? R2K doesn’t know what to say, to our leaders, because as a world view it has divorced itself from the Bible. Therefore, R2K has no objective standard from which to argue any point. Autonomy is R2K’s default position. God’s written law gives us moral imperatives for the life of the unborn, where as Zrim says he *might* vote *for* sodomites to legally marry… why? Because Zrim has no standard by which he can judge.

    The Bible tells us that *we* are the light of the world. But when it comes to the Magistrate, R2K wants to hide our light under a bushel. I say, the Bible has something to say, to both his covenant people, and the Nations. Both should abide by the written revealed word of the Lord. To think otherwise is to walk in a conceptual contradiction.

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  210. Jon, and that’s why it’s called neo-Calvinism. But instead of appealing to the modern doctrine of worldview to say that Christianity applies to all of life, paleo-Calvinism would rather appeal to an older Protestant doctrine of vocation and say that Christians are called to all of life.

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  211. Doug, is there a gas leak in here? You keep peering into my voting heart and doing second rate ventriloquism. When will you listen to my mouth (and fingers) and see that I have both naturally and biblically derived standards and that they actually cause political consternation in the worldly arena? Or do you think God’s revelation is supposed to make life easy? I thought being a Christian meant being at loggerheads with the world’s system?

    Speaking of which, is it really progress to think that saying Jesus is Lord won’t set our heads rolling? Could it be that the alleged “triumph of the gospel” in the west is a form of cultural Christianity where the upshot is suffering for Christ is meaningless? So much so that theonomists and other culturalists have to manufacture a false sense of persecution, which really ends up sounding whiny, especially when believers in other parts of the world where the gospel isn’t so “triumphant” actually suffer more than having a President they don’t much like but who also lets them live freely and unencumbered ?

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  212. Doug,

    First, thanks for the response. Since I am on vacation, I might not get much chance to respond further.

    R2K doesn’t know what to say, to our leaders, because as a world view it has divorced itself from the Bible.

    I suppose I could squabble over a few of the issues you bring up here, but this statement is the one I will hone in on, because I think it is where you are truly misunderstanding 2k. This is not what 2kers think at all, we would claim that our view is grounded in Scripture, and that 2k is the default position of the NT. Now, as a theonomist I know you are probably bound to disagree, but as a good example of how 2kers ground their position in Scripture I’d recommend Van Drunen’s article in Themelios a few years back – Bearing the Sword in the State, Turning the Cheek in the Church: A Reformed Two-Kingdoms Interpretation of Matthew 5:38-42. There’s more literature on how 2k argumentation is grounded in Scripture, but this is a good place to start. Check out the article, and let me know what you think and I’ll respond where I can. But I think many of your issues with 2k and some of our proponents like DGH may be coming from a basis of misunderstanding some foundational issues about 2k – namely that we would argue that it is biblical.

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  213. Hi Jed, I hope your vacation is going swimmingly 🙂

    I will check out Van Drunen’s article, but just off the top my head, let me respond: When President Obama came out *for* same sex marriage, I didn’t hear anyone on you’re (Escondido’s) version of 2K, give a Biblical argument for why they were against same sex marriage. They came up with every reason, BUT a Biblically based moral objection to this issue. Jed, I realize, you believe the Bible told you not to look to the Bible, for standards in the civil realm, but your arguments are from silence. And my head is spinning for even having to write that 😦

    Your view doesn’t take into account that God would deal with Rome just like he promised in the second chapter of the book of Daniel, in his *perfect* time, and in His own sovereign way. Remember seventy sevens? It’s not up to the church to conquer by the physical sword. No, are weapons are nothing so puny as that. We conquer by the Sword of the Spirit. Jesus Christ has already defeated sin and death, and our task is to conquer by trusting in God to work, and move through us. We use the full counsel of God’s Word in all areas!

    Sadly, I didn’t hear anyone on your side of the pond; give a Biblical answer, as to why they were against same sex marriage. Why is that Jed? What was their standard? Their *hunches*, that’s all. Darryl said as much, when I asked him if he would vote *for* same sex marriage, and he said, “It’s my *hunch* that wouldn’t be a good thing”. But is that good enough? Should we only rely on our *hunches*? I think not. Darryl Hart’s core beliefs, “in the civil realm” are based on his own autonomous, subjective, opinions.

    Where with me, while I’m certainly not perfect, I look to God’s revealed Word, and base my opinions accordingly, as God gives me wisdom and insight. It doesn’t matter what *I* think. My task is to see what God has already revealed, and go from there. But were I to divorce myself from God’s revealed Word, *in the civil realm* like Hart and Zrim, I would quickly get in line, with the rest of you. But let everyman be a liar, and God’s Word be true. God’s revealed law is still good for reproof, and correction.

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  214. Doug, how selective are you about biblical law? In addition to my hunch about gay marriage being bad for society I also said I’d vote against it because I should not support sin. So you leave out my full answer in violation of what the ninth commandment requires. Who’s autonomous now?

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